The Pocono Mountains in scenic upstate Pennsylvania have become synonymous with family travel in recent years. Certainly because of its family centric amenities, accommodations and seemingly endless activities. But more so than ever before, one weekend in particular has become what Rory O’Fee, Member of the Board for Wally Lake Fest, calls a staple in Northeast Pennsylvania. One weekend, that last year brought in record attendance and cumulated income in the community more than Fathers Day Weekend, The 4th of July, and Memorial Day Weekend…combined. Welcome to Wally Lake Fest, a fun filled weekend in late August packed with live music, games, food, drinking, and so much more.
RAL: So…What is Wally Lake Fest?
ROF: Wally Lake Fest more or less is a celebration of Lake Wallenpaupack and its surrounding regions. This year, the festival will be held August 23rd – 25th. We are heading into our 5th year of existence. It is one weekend a year that the entire community from Scranton and beyond look forward to, talk about and plan for. Lake Wallenpaupack is the 3rd largest lake in Pennsylvania, and I can tell you, it is a staple of tourism in the area all year, particularly in the summer months. The festival is a way to celebrate the community, the lake and the people that make this area so attractive in the summer months for families, couples, groups, and whoever else wants to call the Poconos home for the weekend.
RAL: Who Comes to Wally Lake Fest?
ROF: This is the beautiful thing about Wally Lake Fest – it draws a crowd that is so diverse in its makeup, that it makes the experience that much more unique. We see everyone…from the young, to the young at heart and everything in-between. The best part about the weekend is that the festival has something to touch every inch of the demographic that comes to celebrate with us every year. There are activities for kids and adults alike. Last year, we saw over 10,000 people come through on the weekend, significantly more than any year prior. We expect that number to increase this year again as well.
“This is the beautiful thing about Wally Lake Fest – it draws a crowd that is so diverse in its makeup, that it makes the experience that much more unique. We see everyone…from the young, to the young at heart and everything in-between.”
RAL: What Can Attendees Expect at Wally Lake Fest…What do Guests Do?
ROF: Well, like I mentioned, Wally Lake Fest really does have something for everyone. For starters, it’s on the lake which everyone has some sort of interest in. The kids swim and boat all day long, while the parents take in live music, local dining favorites and relaxation away from the hustle of their lives. I would say that one of the big drawers in terms of crowd size at the festival has to be the annual battle of the bands. It is unique in the sense that it takes place on the lake…literally. We throw a few bands out in the middle of the lake on a barge and let them have at it for hours. Hundreds upon hundreds of boats line the lake to listen in and cheer on the bands. It is an incredible atmosphere.
RAL: What Does Wally Lake Fest Mean to the Community?
ROF: Oh man, more than you can understand. This event has really become a staple weekend in Northeast Pennsylvania. It is a significant weekend for the local business community, as they prepare for the Winter months. Understand that while the lake is a hub of activity all year, the Summer months are the big months for us. The crowds that make their way through Wally Fest become a critical component to the economy of the business community on the lake. More so than the financials of the event, it has become a breath of fresh air from the long winter months. Even though it is in late August (so we have had plenty of Summer by this point) the event is talked about all year long. It is something that people can identify themselves with. An opportunity to show off what Lake Wallenpaupack is all about. It is very special to the people who have made it their own in the past 4 years.
RAL: Lodging, Dining, Accommodations…What Can I Expect to Find?
ROF: No shortage of any of those, that’s for sure. There are so many great local restaurants, and places to stay, many of them right on the water. Ehrhardts Waterfront Resort has been a fan favorite for the festival in the past. They have prime real estate right on the water and are a great choice for family gatherings and group travelers. And of course, there are a few more resorts and lodges in the immediate area that offer appeal. I always tell people that the resort they are staying in for the weekend won’t matter much because they will be spending all of their time outside!
For more information on the Wally Lake Fest 2014, click here.