When is the PA Firefly Festival?

Friday, June 25 and Saturday June 26 from 7 pm to Midnight. Subscribe to the PAFF Newsletter at Pafireflyevents.org to get early notification of the online registration links.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Our first annual PA Firefly Festival is complete. The statistics are in and affirm that we had a successful inaugural year.  The initial rough count of attendance is 400, and T-shirt and blue light flashlights sales brought in more than $1100.00!!! Some of the highlights were Radim Schreiber's talk about his photography and passion for fireflies, Cathy Pedler's account of the discovery of synchronous fireflies, Adele Wellman's informative team of experts and "bug" catching, exhibitors and crafts, SWAT Team hotdog sale, and inspirational music by Stoney & Friends, and Joyful Noise.

We want to start by thanking all of the hardworking volunteers, family and friends, who worked so hard this weekend to make this first festival run so smoothly.  We appreciate your time, labor and especially patience as we learned how to run a festival.  We also thank the planning committee, especially Cathy Pedler, Christine Hendryx, Bruce Parkhurst, Laurie Barr, John Stoneman and Paula Hanahan.  These folks are passionate and tireless.  They spent countless hours and traveled to the Black Caddis Ranch monthly for 6 months to plan this event.  We learned a lot about what to do and what not to do for next year.

Finally, we want to thank the following contributors and sponsors who gave faithfully to this new project:
Allegheny Defense Project
Allegany State Park of New York
Allegheny Valley Development
Conscious Corner
Cougar Bob's Kellettville Tavern
Forest Hardware
Fund for Wild Nature
Paula Hanahan & Chris Marburger
Jan Hendryx, D.O.
Hunt and Gather
Huplits Wildlife Grants
Joyful Noise
Barbara C. Litten, Esquire
Jim & Pat Mays
PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau
Save Our Streams, PA 
Radim Schreiber
Silkscreen Unlimited
Stoney & Co. 
Team Signs II
US Army Corps of Engineers
Vincent Excavating
Joy and Meril Walls (by Mary Connacher)
Whig Hill Store

These individuals and businesses gave support of money or services to something that had never been done before with no guarantee of return or profit.  However, without their support, we would have never been able to host such a successful event.  

We hope that all the visitors and firefly hunters learned something about the variety of species in this forest area, and took the opportunity to observe the spectacular displays we have been talking about. We heard a lot of "oohs, aahs and WOWs!!"  We had perfect weather, and the full moon added to the spectacle of the night sky.  One last note, the fireflies continue to display in and around Kellettville, and you can expect to see them through the next few weeks.  So, be sure you take advantage of the warm summer nights, and get out into the lush dark forest and view a synchronous firefly display.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


We are now observing more firefly activity every day, and the excitement is growing.  We observed fireflies at all of the Kellettville sites on Sunday evening.  They are just starting to emerge, and we expect them to be at peak next weekend for the first annual PA Firefly Festival.  We couldn't be more excited, so now all we need is great weather.

Whether you are coming for the entire weekend or just to enjoy one evening, we recommend that you dress for an evening in the forest, wear sturdy shoes, bring a lawn chair/blanket and use bug repellent.  There will be a fundraising hotdog sale Saturday evening.  Local restaurants, Cougar Bob's Kellettville Tavern and Flying W, will be open, but picnics and coolers are permitted at the festival.

This is a FREE event, but there will be PAFF T-shirts and Blue-light flashlights for sale to support future festivals.  We will even "convert" your personal flashlight to a firefly-friendly blue for a donation.

Check earlier blog posts for more specific details, schedule of events and overnight accommodations.

Remember in the event of severe thunderstorms the events will have to be cancelled.

Friday, May 24, 2013

We are 4 weeks away, and despite today's weather, we are expecting the Fireflies will be right on time. One of our partners saw a solo flash in his backyard in Tionesta this week.  We have not seen any activity in Kellettville to date.  We are getting calls daily about the fireflies, the festival and camping.

Here's the schedule so far:
Friday, June 21:      5:00 - Campers begin to arrive
                                6:00 - Camper Registration/Orientation
                                7:00 - Volunteer Orientation, Firefly Guide workshop
                                8:00 - Campfire Orientation/Demonstrations, Firefly Guides will take their posts
                                9:00 - Firefly walks begin and continue until 12-midnight

Saturday, June 22: 11:00 - Exhibitors set-up, Volunteer Orientation, Firefly Guide workshop
                              12-noon- Registration and Exhibits open until 5:00
                                1:00 - Children's activities until 3:00 including Geo-cache and arts/crafts
                                5:00 - Hot dog Sale until 7:00
                                6:00 - Music Begins until 8:00
                                7:00 - Door Prizes announced, Firefly Guide workshop (if needed)
                                8:00 - Campfire Orientation/Demonstrations, Firefly Guides take their posts
                                9:00 - Firefly walks begin and continue until 12-midnight

Sunday, June 23:   10:00-12:00 - break camp and CLEAN UP!!!

Be sure to call 814-463-7606 to make your reservation for camping at Black Caddis Ranch, and/or go to www.VisitPaGo.com, if you need motel accommodations.  Rooms are filling up in Tionesta.

We still need volunteers to help with events, monitoring and to be firefly guides.  Let us know if you're interested.  Call 814-463-7606 or e-mail butler.peggy.s@gmail.com.
Glow ON!!!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Here's the poster for this year's festival.  We are adding more sponsors daily; three more today.  We are also taking and getting donations for door prizes.  Radim Schrieber has donated a set of his Firefly photo greeting cards.  Still looking for a group (school, church/youth group, scouts, sportsmans club or VFD) who would like to sell hotdogs and sodas on Saturday as  a fundraiser. We will supply the food, but need help cooking and selling.  Whig Hill store will supply the food at cost.  Contact Peggy if you want to help with this. The next meeting is next Wednesday, 5/22, here at BCR at 1:00.  We are planning to firm-up the schedule and assign jobs for the event.  Hope you can join us.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

7 Weeks to GLOW ON!

The count-down is on, and anticipation is growing as we continue to make plans to host this year's first annual PA Firefly Festival here at Black Caddis Ranch in Kellettville.  Currently, we have 9 exhibitors signed up and 2 music groups scheduled to perform.  We received a mini-grant from the NW Pa Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau to help us with advertising.  More sponsors have chipped in as well to help us with the expenses for T-shirts, flashlights, kids' events and visitor services.  Be sure to check out the ADP website www.alleghenydefense.org to make a donation on-line, or contact any of the partners.

We are beginning to observe all kinds of insects emerging daily as the weather gets warmer in the evenings.  I even saw 2 dinural (day time) fireflies today on my back deck.  We will keep you posted as soon as we begin to see any flashing in the field and forest.

For overnight accommodations, go to www.visitpago.com or the Forest County website www.forestcounty.com.  Primitive campsites are available here at the Black Caddis Ranch, we will take reservations for up to 20 tent or pop-up sites. Visitors coming just for the day should bring lawn chairs and/or blankets.

If you are interested in exhibiting, performing and/or monitoring the fireflies, please contact us at butler.peggy.s@gmail.com or call 814-463-7606.

Sponsors to date: Allegheny Defense Project,  NW Pa Great OutdoorsVisitors Bureau, Ken & Peggy Butler, Radim Schreiberg, Barbara Litten, Esq., Mary Connacher, and several Anonymous donations.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

We are pleased to announce that Radim Shreiber is going to be an exhibitor at this year's first annual PA Firefly Festival.  He specializes in this art known as Macro photography, and he captures the fireflies flashing their bioluminescence without any postproduction effects.  Be sure to go to his website to see more photos examples in his gallery @ www.fireflyexperience.org.  Our blogspot and facebook pages now feature his photographs as our background and profile pictures.  Thank you Radim.

Be sure to come to the festival to see his photography first-hand, and purchase your favorite print.  He will also be presenting a short seminar on how he captures these amazing images.

Finally, we also have an updated logo.  Thanks to Elizabeth Edelstein we now have a refreshed logo.
Graphics by Elizabeth Edelstein, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Firefly Festival Update for March

Today it may be snowing, but we are still looking forward to spring and the upcoming firefly season here in Kellettville.  Despite what the weather is like today, the time is flying by, we only have 3 months until the festival.  We are continuing to make plans for the event and committees are working on getting sponsors, exhibitors, designs for t-shirts, flashlight suppliers and monitoring schedules.

We have a "logo" for our ANFFFP,  and have started distributing letters to businesses and organizations requesting funds.  Don't forget you can go to the ADP website or link right now https://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6155/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9715, and give your sponsorship on-line.  We appreciate any amount you might be able to give.

If you are interested in being an exhibitor, provide educational or promotional information about fireflies, the ANF or related organizations, provide music or food service on site, please contact Peggy for an exhibitor application at butler.peggy.s@gmail.com.

Friday, February 8, 2013

PA Firefly Festival place and time information

The first annual PA Firefly Festival events will take place on the grounds of Black Caddis Ranch (BCR) B&B, and the Cabins at Camp Fossil Creek.  The following is a tentative timeline of events:

  • On Friday, 6/21, arrival of campers starts any time after noon.  
  • Saturday, 6/22, there will be events all day for children, special interest groups will have tables to share and display information, family friendly music and entertainment will start in the late afternoon and into the evening.  
  • Sunday, 6/23 clean-up and restoration of campsites. 
  • Both Friday and Saturday night starting at 7pm, there will be an educational seminar about fireflies, and how to best observe them, as well as night hikes to the sites in the forest and/or along the creeks to observe the variety of species. Some of the best displays start after 10 pm and last until 1 am.

The BCR B&B and Cabins at Camp Fossil Creek are available and currently taking reservations. There will be limited tent camping (20 sites) at BCR for $10.00 per night.  The sites are primitive; no electric or water.  Reservations are required for any overnight accommodations.  Contact us at 814-463-7606 or butler.peggy.s@gmail for more information and to make a reservation.

There are several other places in the Kellettville area for camping, including the Flying W Ranch, Kellettville Campground, Minister Creek Campground and primitive sites along the North Country Trail.

Remember, you don't have to camp to observe the fireflies.  You may just want to come for the evening events and view fireflies.  So, bring your lawn chairs, blankets and join us for the evening.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Announcing the First Annual PA Firefly Festival, June 21-23, 2013.
Annually, in the warm evenings of June in the fields and forests of Pennsylvania, a natural phenomenon takes place that many of us have begun to take for granted.  However, almost 2 years ago, one very observant lady noticed this phenomenon while camping along side the banks of the Branch Creek on the North Country Trail.  Cathy Pedler was that camper, and she wondered if what she was seeing was significant, or just another everyday occurrence. As it turns out, her observation is very significant.

What Cathy observed that night were fireflies blinking in unison.  She went home to search and discovered that some rare species of fireflies are considered synchronous.  Cathy found the leading authority on the synchronous fireflies, Lynn Faust, in Tennessee. Supported by a grant from the Secure Rural Schools in Forest County, Lynn brought her team of scientists from the Universities of Tennessee and Georgia last June to study the fireflies in Forest County.  There are synchronous fireflies in the Smokey Mountains, but never were observed or confirmed to exist outside that area.  So, Lynn and her team came here to study "our" fireflies.

The scientists worked every night for 10 days, observing, collecting and identifying over 17 different species of fireflies in this area including one dubbed the Chinese Lantern.  They were able to confirm, through DNA testing, that indeed some of the fireflies we have in Forest County are the synchronous variety known as Photinus Carolinus.  This is exciting news.

While many of us as children took delight in catching lightning bugs or fireflies in a jar on the summer evenings to light our tents, there seems to more to the firefly than just a twinkling butt.  The humble and harmless firefly is what is known as an indicator species, and is usually a sign of a healthy, well balanced habitat.  We knew we had fireflies in this area, but never knew it was of any significance.  As it turns out, since 1974, the firefly has been designated the official insect of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  We want to insure that this insect gets its due respect, and continues to bring delight to future generations of children of all ages.

The First Annual PA Firefly Festival this coming June will focus on education and observation of the 17 species of fireflies including the synchronous firefly light show and the Chinese Lanterns  on the Tionesta Creek.  There will be plenty of campsites for those who want to stay for the entire weekend, or just bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets for a Friday or Saturday evening of fun and amazement.  On Saturday afternoon, there will be events for the kids and music.  The planning committee is meeting monthly from now until June, and we will keep you posted about more details and information as it develops.  So, check back here frequently for more updates.