Where is the PAFF?

The Annual PA Firefly Festival takes place on the grounds of the Black Caddis Ranch B & B in Kellettville, just 15 miles east of Tionesta on Route 666. The address is 13558 Route 666, Tionesta, Pa 16353.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4th Annual PA Firefly Festival HUGE Success!!!

Thanks to great weather, a dedicated group of volunteers, and visitors from all over the globe, the 4th annual PA Firefly Festival on June 25th was a record-breaking event! Over 1,100 firefly enthusiasts showed up in Kellettville, enjoying lively local music and food truck fare by day, and taking adventuresome night walks to observe fireflies after dusk, along Tionesta Creek and into the nearby  Allegheny National Forest by special permit. Some visitors at this year's festival came from as far away as Brazil, Spain, Australia, China, Puerto Rico, South Africa and the UK to see the synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus). The US were well represented by 11 different states.

Local interest is running high, too, and the PA Firefly Festival board is considering having a "locals only" night for residents next year, on a midweek night, weather permitting.  Residents may not want to compete with big tourist crowds on a busy summer weekend. If you think this is a good idea, let PAFF know you want to join the local Friends of Fireflies group for special access programming.

The PA Firefly Festival group is a local nonprofit with an educational and scientific mission, but they know how to have a good time, too! The free family festival is a fun way to celebrate the short 2-week season in June  and help people appreciate the amazing diversity of firefly species in and around the Allegheny National Forest and the surrounding region.

"What's not to like about fireflies?" is a commonly expressed feeling about these intriguing beetles that evoke fond childhood memories of warm summer nights and backyard fun.  At the firefly Nature Center, set up for the day of the festival only, people can learn about fireflies and their habitat, and about the local public lands, forests and parks represented among exhibitors.  Also featured in the fun annual celebration are local vendors who sell their wares,  and hands-on science and craft activities for kids of all ages.

Synchronous fireflies are a big attraction! They come out very late - between 10:30pm until after midnight - and prefer forested areas with nearby water, and border areas between meadow and woods. Their peak season only lasts a couple of weeks so don't delay if you want to see them. This year they started to emerge around June 20th.
Many other brilliant and beautiful fireflies can be found along much of the length of Tionesta Creek, and at ANF recreation areas such as Hearts Content, Beaver Meadows, Loleta and Buzzard Swamp.  There are dazzling shows in many locations in our area! 

For more info about fireflies, visit pafirefestival.org or look around in your local area for firefly populations near home.
And if you missed the festival this year, it's always held on the 4th Saturday in June.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Come get your "Light ON"!

We are seeing good synchronous firefly activity this week leading up to the festival this Saturday.  The night time temperatures are rising and perfect for emerging adult fireflies.  We have noticed more fireflies emerging earlier around 9:30pm. Synchronous displays don't start until well after 10pm.  If you are in the Kellettville area or camping in the Allegheny National Forest, you should get out this week and look for them.  Please feel free, to comment and post here or on our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PAFireflyFestival/?ref=bookmarks or Twitter https://twitter.com/PaFirefly pages any sightings and observations.  We would love to hear from you about your experience.

The festival is gearing up for our 4th Annual PA Firefly Festival next Saturday, June 25 from noon to midnight.  Come for the music, food and fun during the day, and stay for the firefly shows after 10pm.  You will learn a lot about the diversity and importance of fireflies in the ANF. FREE Parking is available on the grounds of the Black Caddis Ranch B&B.  The weather is predicted to be good, and we are expecting crowds.  Be sure to bring your camp chairs, wear sturdy shoes or boots (no flip-flops or ballet slippers) and long pants and long sleeves for the firefly walks.

New this year, the Tionesta Lions Club will be serving a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, morning 7-10am to campers and residents.  The proceeds benefit the Forest County Relay for Life, so come eat breakfast before you break camp.

Monday, May 16, 2016

6 Weeks to Go!

We had a very productive meeting yesterday.  Lots of details to cover between now and the festival.

The biggest item is the Volunteer Training on Saturday, June 18 at 8:00 pm.  This is open to anyone interested in helping to lead the interpretive walks the night of the event.  We will provide you with all the information you need and you will get an early opportunity to go out and look for fireflies.  Meet at the Black Caddis Ranch and come prepared to hike into the forest after sunset.  Can't make the 6/18 training?  We will be happy to give you a crash course the day of the festival too, so find a PAFF member at the festival and get registered.

We are also looking for local firefly monitors to watch and report on sightings of fireflies throughout the Allegheny National Forest in the weeks and days leading up to the festival on June 25.  You are welcome to post your sightings and observations on our Facebook or Twitter pages.   If you are willing to be either a volunteer firefly interpretive guide the night of the festival or a firefly monitor contact us at pafireflyfestival@gmail.com.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 15 Planning Meeting

The next meeting is next Sunday at 2:00.  Anyone interested in volunteering or getting more information about the festival is welcome to join us.  We are still looking for crafters and artists who would like to sell their items.  Be sure to check the new website pafireflyfestival.org for the applications.

We are also waiting to hear from the Ammonite Film company about the airing of the Bioluminescence film release in the U.S.  The BBC is airing it tomorrow night in honor of David Attenborough's 90th Birthday.

We have also been presenting our Firefly Educational program funded by the Huplits Wildlife Grant.  We have already presented to the Forest Area Schools 5th grade Science Educational Field Trip at the Flying W on April 29.  We are scheduled to present to the Seneca Rocks chapter of the Audubon Society on May 11.  We then have a 1 1/2 day workshop for the State of Pennsylvania DCNR Educators on June 8 and 9.  The programs are being very well received and word is spreading fast.

We are anticipating record attendance this year if the weather cooperates.  The current mGDDs for Bradford, PA is 215.   The target mGDD of 719-1200 usually correlates with the peak of the synchronous fireflies.  We will keep you posted on this blogspot and Facebook when we start seeing fireflies.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


We have a new website:  Pafireflyfestival.org Check it out.  It will have all the information about the PA Firefly Festival, vendor and musician applications, directions, volunteer information, education programs, donor and contact information.  You can still count on the blog to inform you of current events, meetings and updates.  We will keep it running at least through this year's festival.

The April meeting is this Sunday, 4/10 at 1:00 pm.  Among the usual agenda items will be T-shirt design approval. Anyone interested in helping with the festival is welcome to join us.  Contact us if you need directions.

The board would like to thank Rowan Hughes for her help and hard work with setting up and maintaining the website.