West Main Street in Annville will bustle with an anticipated 6,000 to 8,000 people, 200 vendors, and two stages with live music this Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The busiest time tends to be between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Douglas L. Nyce spoke with LebTown about what attendees can expect at the 34th Historic Old Annville Day (HOAD). Nyce, an Annville resident since 1985, is the vice president of Friends of Old Annville (FOOA) and head of the Historic Old Annville Day Committee.
The organizational process behind the street fair typically starts in January, allotting the committee members six months to prepare.
“We meet every month for an hour or so,” he said. “And then, we go and do our duties, which take way more than that [amount of] time outside of the meeting, making all the arrangements necessary.”
Nyce said each person on the committee has a specific role, which varies from interacting with the township to controlling traffic to putting together the information center to booking music.
Nyce serves as the vendor coordinator. “So, all the vendors who come and sign up, I have to process all that and assign them spaces and give them directions and so forth,” he said.
The street fair itself spans eight blocks. But its history spans centuries and counties.
Annville Days were held at Hershey Park more than a century ago. For the event in its early imaginings, “members of the community would travel by train and trolley to the park for a day of picnicking, rides, swimming, and other sports,” according to an FOOA press release.
FOOA started HOAD in 1989. Nyce said, “I remember being at that Annville Day. At that time, it was a block. And people had their stands on the sidewalks. And the road was not closed. You had to cross the street if you wanted to get to the other side. So, it started off very small, but it’s grown over the 30-some years.”
This year’s event will feature fan-favorite and new nonprofit and not-for-profit groups and for-profit vendors in its 200 10-by-15-foot vendor spaces.
Nyce mentioned the Rotary Club of Lebanon PA, the Kiwanis Club of Lebanon, and local churches as nonprofit and not-for-profit groups that have attended the event in the past.
“There are more recent ones, like there’s Visit Lebanon Valley that started coming. And they support the event, of course,” he said. “And the [Lebanon] County Commissioners support the event through the tourism grant that they’ve given us.”
The FOOA press release also mentioned the Annville Free Library, the Quilting Guild, the Antique Tractor Club of Lebanon Valley, and the Quittie Creek Nature Park will be in attendance.
Nyce then mentioned some of the for-profit vendors.
Food trucks will sell soft serve ice cream and “cheesesteaks and hot dogs and kettle popcorn and funnel cakes and, you know, fries, anything you can imagine,” he said.
The Allen Theatre and recently-opened Pho Bar & Grill, which serves pho, wings, banh mi, and more, and Room 101 The Med, which specializes in Mediterranean food, will also attend.
Nyce said of the Rotunda Brewery, “I think they have five spaces. And they have seating on the street. And you can go in the beer garden and have lunch. … And then, of course, there are all the different craft vendors.”
“People come primarily for the food and the interaction with their friends,” Nyce said. Previous residents are often in town as the Annville-Cleona Alumni Association schedules its annual meeting and dinner for the same weekend as HOAD.
Live music performances by Washington Band, Quittapahilla Highlanders, Intentional Walk, Full Circle Band, Abigail’s Garden, Mockingbird, Emaylia, Luther Tyree, Indigo Cosmos, and others can be heard from the two stages and the street.
Between enjoying the food and tunes, event attendees can take self-guided walking tours through the historic district of Main Street, where they can “view limestone and log structures constructed in Annville in the 1700s and early 1800s,” according to the press release. A blacksmith will demonstrate house-building processes from the 1700s.
Throughout the event, children can pick up a bingo card at the information center and attempt to complete it for a Jr. Annville Historian badge.
“They’ll be looking for: I went and listened to some music. Or I had some food. Or I saw this historic building,” Nyce said. “… So, that will be cool for kids to run around and try to fill their bingo card. And then, they can bring it back for recognition.”
A raffle, which benefits the FOOA’s façade grant program, will be held at 1 p.m. Prizes include $500 in cash from FOOA, a $250 gift certificate from Rotunda, and $100 in cash from the Allen Theatre.
“The whole event is a fundraiser in part,” Nyce said. “We give the money away from the raffle winnings to people who own homes along Main Street there in the historic district.” Homeowners can apply to be reimbursed for expenses associated with maintaining the appearance of their properties, such as those painting the fronts of buildings and window repairs.
Other ways that those interested in FOOA can get involved include joining the organization either through an individual or business membership, reading the members-only newsletter, and serving on one of the organization’s committees: the Quittie Creek Nature Park Committee, the Historic Annville Train Station Committee, and the Historic Old Annville Day Committee.
“By the way, the station will be open a bit during the day too. There’ll be signs up, and people can go take a tour of the Annville Railroad Station on Moyer Street during the event,” he said.
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