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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

July is "Big Dipper" Time!

The festival is now been over for a month, but that doesn't mean there aren't fireflies to see.  The Synchronous season ended July 12, and officially made the 2017 season the longest in our  5-year history of data.  However, just as the last of the Synchronous shows ended and the Chinese Lanterns faded, new species began to emerge with just as impressive shows as our June species.

Currently, the lawns and farm fields all over northwest Pennsylvania are lighting up with displays by the "Big Dippers", the J-shaped light of Photinus pyralis.  You can almost set your watches to these displays.  They start around 9:00 pm with a peak around 9:15-20 and ending around 9:45.  They typically fly up from the grass and flash 12-18 inches off the ground at first, flying higher, up to 12-15 feet as they "warm-up".  Usually, children have no trouble catching these seasonal delights (just be sure to release them that night in the same area you caught them).  If you aren't seeing them in your neighborhood or fields, that's a sign that something is just not right.  You may want to take stock and evaluate your habitat more closely around your home for light pollution and/or pesticides.

SAYING GOODBYE:  We want to especially thank this year's PAFF Summer Intern, Peyton Breault, for all of her hard work and commitment to the fireflies of the Allegheny National Forest.  Peyton was able to help identify a lot of the flowers and plants associated with the Synchronous firefly displays and habitats.  We hope to use this information in the future to help us not only predict the display onset and peak, but to preserve and restore habitat.  We wish her well in her Senior Year at Florida Southern College and look forward to what she will become as a successful scientist.

Thank you to all who supported this year's festival with your volunteering, donations and expertise.  We will continue to learn as much as we can about fireflies in the Allegheny National Forest area, and are busy already making plans for next year.

Monday, June 5, 2017

It's June!

It's June and the firefly season is just beginning.  We have sightings of fireflies in the fields, along the creek and in the forest.  The night time temperatures are just perfect.  Last night, we observed 30-40 synchronous fireflies after 10:30 pm.

The 5th Annual PA Firefly Festival is now less than 2 weeks away and the major change this year is the reservation policy for the firefly walks.  We are now sold out and the registration is CLOSED.

Don't worry; there is still a lot to do at the festival during the day.  Come enjoy the live music (see the schedule below) performed by some of the most talented musicians in the area, eat a delicious taco or burger from Mobile Fresca or Annabelle's food trucks, peruse and learn about fireflies and other natural flora and fauna in the Allengheny National Forest, shop the festival merchandise or arts/crafts vendors for a gift or treasure and/or take a trek down the creek or in the forest to see the firefly habitats in the daylight.  You won't go away empty stomach or handed.

If you can't make it here the night of the festival and still want to see fireflies, you can book a guided Seasonal Firefly Walk on any night between June 16 and July 1 for a $5 per person donation to PAFF.  We will meet and depart from the Black Caddis Ranch at 9 pm for the creek to walk amongst the "Chinese Lanterns" and then hike back into the forest after 10 pm to watch the Synchronous shows.

Do you live in the area?  Don't want to fight festival crowds?  We are hosting a Locals' Night for the residents and seasonal campers of Forest County on Wednesday, June 14.  Meet us here at Black Caddis Ranch at 9 pm.

Last but not least... The "Silent Sparks" PAFF Benefit night is Wednesday, June 21st.  The world-renowned firefly expert and author Dr. Sara Lewis will be at West Forest High School to provide a multi-media presentation about her life experiences with fireflies.  Doors open at 6 pm and donations will be accepted at the door.  There will be basket raffles, 50/50, Silent Sparks books and PAFF merchandise for sale.  At 6:15, the short documentary film Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night will be shown to open the evening.  After Dr. Lewis' presentation, she will take questions from the audience and sign books.  This is a great way to learn about and experience fireflies if you are not an "outdoor" person or can't walk into the forest. You won't want to miss this inspirational and unique evening.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Season is Heating Up!

We are counting days now, (40  to be exact) to the festival.  However, there are plenty of opportunities being offered this year for viewing and learning about fireflies leading up to the day of the festival on June 24.

The first opportunity will be the Locals' Night, Wednesday, June 14   All local residents and campers of Forest County are invited to join us for a FREE special preview night of the fireflies in Kellettville.  We will depart from the Black Caddis Ranch at 9:00 pm to walk to the Kellettville bridge to view the "Chinese Lanterns" and the return by 10:00 pm to walk into the forest to view the "Synchronous" firefly.  Weather will be factor, so if we have thunderstorms or temperatures below 60 degrees, we will reschedule for Friday, June 16.  RSVP on the Facebook page.

Here are some suggestions to enhance your firefly experience.

  1. Dress for walking in the forest.  Wear sturdy footwear, long sleeves and pants. 
  2.  Bring a walking stick/trek poles. 
  3.  Flashlights should be covered with a blue or red filter, or let your eyes adjust to the darkness and see the brilliant show naturally. 
  4. We encourage an up close and intimate experience with the fireflies.  Children may catch fireflies, but we ask that they release them as soon as possible after observing them. 
  5. Fireflies don't sting or bite, but ticks and mosquitos do.  If you choose to wear insect repellent, please DO NOT handle the fireflies.  If you dress protectively and check for ticks when you get home, you should not have to worry.

That same evening, we will be training new Firefly Guides.  All interested Firefly Guides are asked to come at 8:00 pm to get the information they need to lead nightly walks and the 100s of fireflyers at the festival.  Guides this year will be compensated and should apply in advance on the Pa Firefly Festival website.

More to come next week, when we will blog about the Seasonal Nightly Walks, and the Silent Sparks Benefit.  Check out the pafireflyfestival.org for more information too.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


The 5th Annual Pa Firefly Festival at the Black Caddis Ranch in Kellettville, PA is less than two months away and we're excited to show you how much we've grown! If you haven't already, now is the time to get your travel plans set so you can join us this year.
   Although we're no longer offering camping on the festival site, there are plenty of camps, hotels and other lodgings nearby from which to choose.  Book now to avoid being disappointed!  Find a list of nearby lodging HERE!!
   New this year, we're asking attendees to REGISTER if they want a spot in our Creek and/or Forest Walks during the festival.  It's still free, but registering will help us to organize the crowds and give you the best firefly experience possible.  Register beginning May 1 HERE.
   Also new this year, we're offering a VIP Synchronous Firefly Experience!  For a $10 (per person) donation, you'll get access to the exclusive VIP firefly viewing area, your own dedicated firefly interpretive guide and up to an hour of uninterrupted viewing.  Secure your VIP Experience HERE.
   Don't want to fight the crowds on June 24th?  Black Caddis Ranch is offering nightly guided walks for a $5 donation (per person) to PAFF.  Walks can be scheduled on evenings from June 16 through July 1. Schedule a seasonal walk HERE.

Monday, March 13, 2017

March updates

The Annual Pennsylvania Firefly Festival (PAFF) is announcing some exciting new opportunities for this year’s firefly season in Forest County.  Once again, the 5th Annual PAFF is on June 24 from noon to midnight.  Last year, we had 1100 enthusiastic visitors in one night.  This year, we hope to spread this enthusiasm over multiple nights to provide more opportunities to firefly enthusiasts. 

PAFF's primary mission is to educate the public about diverse species of fireflies in our area through providing opportunities to witness the “natural light show”.  To that end, we will be requiring reservations for the firefly walks at the festival, and offering up to 14 additional nights of guided firefly walks. By providing extra nights of viewing and limiting the crowd size on June 24, we hope to optimize the viewers’ experience while we protect the firefly habitats from overuse.  

Here are some of the planned events and changes that you will want to mark on your calendars:       
  •  Locals’ Night, Wednesday, June 14 (rain date June 16), 9pm-11pm
  •  Nightly guided firefly walks to benefit PAFF starting June 16 – July 1, 9pm-11pm (some exclusions apply)
  •   “Silent Sparks” PAFF benefit, Wednesday, June 21, at West Forest High School, 6:15-              8:30pm, firefly expert and author, Dr. Sara Lewis will make a presentation.
  •  5th Annual PA Firefly Festival, Saturday, June 24, noon – midnight, free firefly walks, and the new VIP Synchronous Firefly Experience.

This year the firefly walks at the festival will require reservationsDetails for making your reservations and for all the events can be found on the website, pafireflyfestival.org or call 814-230-2035 for more information.  

The most exciting addition this year is a special presentation by Dr. Sara Lewis author of Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies.  Dr. Lewis will be at West Forest High School on June 21.  This will be a benefit for the PA Firefly Festival, and donations will be accepted at the door.  Dr. Lewis will present a multi-media inspirational message about her firefly experience.  She will take questions from the audience and be on-hand to sign books. 

We hope you will find an evening to come watch the fireflies in the forest this June.

Monday, February 13, 2017

PAFF is providing an opportunity for lodging and campground owners or any Forest County business who have a special interest in learning more about the fireflies.  We are expecting a big increase in eco-tourism this June to the Forest county area due to the attraction of the humble little "lightning bug".  These tourists will be looking for everything from overnight accommodations and meals to fuel and flashlights.  If you are a business owner and want to learn how you can attract more of these visitors to your business, you are welcome to join us on March 8 at the Mt. Zion Lutheran Church on German Hill in Tionesta for a Potluck and educational program.  Bring a dish or dessert to share and call 814-230-2035 for more information and to RSVP.