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 - betweenuntil after - 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 4thin June.