Three years ago, as organizers were handing out trophies on Wilkes-Barre’s River Common, they announced a young woman’s name, inviting her to step forward to accept an age-group award in the inaugural Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Half-Marathon.
Where was she? Was she still in the vicinity?
She’s not here, one of her friends called out.
Not content with the 13.1 miles she had just run in the half-marathon, this particular athlete had set off to run several more miles, to complete the day’s workout.
It almost makes you wonder if a really motivated long-distance runner could start out in Wilkes-Barre, scene of tomorrow’s fourth annual Wendy’s Wonderful Kids half-marathon, and try to hoof it to other Labor Day Weekend events.
Surely a marathoner could reach those traditional favorites, the Steamtown Railfest and La Festa Italiana in Scranton, within a few hours. A diehard athlete probably also could jog to Tunkhannock for the inaugural CORNSTOCK acoustic music fest.
But it would take some doing to push on toward the Pocono Garlic Fest in Shawnee-on-Delaware, and then our imaginary athlete would probably have to get a ride back to Wilkes-Barre if he or she wanted to reach Kirby Park in time for the first-ever Labor Day Festival that benefits the Wounded Warriors Project.
For most of us, meanwhile, it would be a marathon just to drive to all of these places.
Whatever mode of transportation you choose, here is some information about the many festivals.
• Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Family Fitness Weekend.
The 4th annual event includes two days of movement and exercise, beginning tonight with a race expo on the River Common in Wilkes-Barre. There will be food, music, arts and crafts for children, a bounce house and games along with Harrold’s Pharmacy Walk for Adoption, the Friday Night 5K Run and the OneSource River Street Mile.
That OneSource race is the third and final race in the Valley’s Fastest Man Series and last year included several NCAA All-Americans and an Olympian from Argentina.
Saturday offers a spectator-friendly half-marathon and 10K run, the 15-mile Colours Ride for Home bicycle ride, a CrossFit Kids class, gymnastics, free pancake breakfast, Zumba, yoga and a float on the Susquehanna River. Events are centered at the River Common, Wilkes-Barre. Details at wilkesbarreracing.com.
• CORNSTOCK Music Fest
Three days of acoustic music, camping and jamming in the Endless Mountains. Organizers of this family-friendly event explain they are promoting “the greenest form of music.”
“In this modern day of seemingly endless screen time,” they wrote in a press release, “it is important to get away from all the gadgets. No plugs or chargers are needed to create hours of fun and enjoyment. … We invite folks to come celebrate the universal language of music, kinship and good times.”
Set for today through Sunday at Lazy Brook Park in Tunkhannock, CORNSTOCK includes 22 bands, among them international touring bluegrass band Hickory Project, regional favorites Coal Town Rounders, Garcia Grass, Old Friends, Bog Swing Group, Tumblewood Highway and Colebrook Road and NYC-based country-jazz band Honeyfingers. Experts will lead workshops in mandolin, swing guitar, harmony singing and more, and there will be activities for children as well.
Tickets are $50 for a weekend pass, $20 for Friday only, $25 for Saturday only and $10 for Sunday. Ages 16 and younger are admitted free if accompanied by an adult.
• Steamtown Railfest, a celebration of railroading with visiting steam and diesel locomotives and passenger cars, exhibits, shop demonstrations, train rides and excursions, live music, Confederation of Union Generals program, Civil War encampment (at the Iron Furnaces), caboose and hand-car rides, model railroads and “Big Boy” cab tours. Steamtown National Historic Site, 300 Cliff St., Scranton. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 340-5200 or nps.gov/stea.
• Pocono Garlic Festival, the 19th annual event with more than 50 garlicky foods ranging from salsas to pasta to popcorn (non-garlicky food also is available). There will be craft vendors, two stages of music, cooking demonstrations, a garlic-eating contest, children’s activity area and strolling entertainers. Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, Hollow Road, Shawnee-on-Delaware. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $10. 421-7231.
• La Festa Italiana, the annual end-of-summer festival with food and craft vendors, continuous entertainment, games and rides for the children and Sunday-night fireworks. Also: an Italian Mass at 10 a.m. Sunday at St. Peter’s Cathedral and a tribute to Dean Martin on Monday. Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. Free admission. More info at lafestaitaliana.org.
• Labor Day Festival, the inaugural event to raise money for the non-profit Keystone Wounded Warrior Project. Monday with a Home Run Derby at 7:30 a.m. followed by activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. including costumed dramas about the area’s labor history by the Eckley and Patchtown Players, music by John Smith, Jim Spock, rock band Deva Loca, rappers Rahboo and R&B artist David Young, magic with Pat Ward, karate demonstration, book signing, displays, vendors and festival foods. Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre. 466-3385.