July Events

Lots of great events going on in Emporium this July!

Fireworks Saturday July 6th 9:45pm

Sizerville State Park Pool – open all month 11am-7pm

Dark Sky Party – July 13th 8:00 pm 

100 mile yard sale – July 19th-20th 

Elk Expo – July 27th-28th

Weekend in the Wilds – Saturday July 6th

Gravel Cycling Weekend Event August 16th-18th

Join cyclers in Emporium, PA for a three day gravel cycling event on August 16th-18th. This excursion offers three different course options for all levels. There is a 100 mile trail for elite riders, a 60 mile trail for those in the middle, and a 30 mile trail for those who want to take it easy! Project Pedal is bringing this event to Cameron County to promote their simple goal. “Motivate others through cycling to promotive positive mental health and wellness.” This is such a positive and impactful project. Pick up a bike and join them in August! Sign up at https://www.beyondthedirt.com/

Dark sky viewing events Summer 2024

There will be three dark sky viewing events this summer.

June 8th

July 13th

August 10th

To get to these events, travel up Whittimore Road for 3.41 miles past the Emporium Overlook. Go straight at the stop sign, continue on May Hollow Road for 2.19 miles. Turn right onto Landfill Road and continue approximately 1 mile to the parking destination.

By using this location as a dark skies viewing spot, and a natural wildlife sport, we are preserving this land to help ensure the protection of this area from light pollution that can disrupt ecosystems.

Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Clean-up Grants

Recently, 178 communities were selected to receive grant awards that came to a total of $231 million. Cameron County has received one of these grants due to an “outstanding application,” that was submitted. Cameron County will receive $1,500,000. The main purpose of this grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency will provide funding for assessment, clean-up, and redevelopment of properties to better ensure protecting public health and the environment. There are 450,000 brownfields in the United States. A brownfield is a property that may contain contaminants or harmful substances that affect the environment.The United States Environmental Protection Agency began in the 1900s by giving money to local governments for pilot projects and to help revitalize brownfield sites. In 2002, many of the practices of the EPA were codified. In 2018, EPA was approved for changes that affect grants, ownership, and liability provisions. Lastly, in 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, provided a great amount of funding for new plans of cleaning and revitalizing different infrastructures. The EPA Brownfields Program invests in communities, promotes environmental justice, and helps leaders transform their brownfields in their communities. By cleaning and protecting these brownfields around the United States, these sites are able to be expanded into a purposeful area for a community that isn’t contaminated by harmful substances. Brownfields help with job growth, increase tax bases, and make use of a property that can be repurposed.

Cameron County Gravel Cycling Routes

Recently, Cameron County and Village to Village Press, LLC, a Virginia corporation, have created an agreement on Gravel Cycling Routes. Cameron County received a grant to fund cycling routes in Cameron County. Village to Village Press has 15+ years of experience with international trail development as well as guidebook publication experience. Gravel Cycling is adventurous, and gives you more freedom to ride than when you are on a public roadway. It is better for your safety and allows you to be surrounded by nature during your ride. Gravel cycling is growing fast and is expected to grow 13.5% annually from 2023-2030. With this new agreement in place, Village to Village Press LLC. will research and map out unpaved roads and cycling routes, as well as design 15 day routes with points of interest for the community. These routes will vary in difficulty of levels and lengths. Each route will be described with content of history, culture, and heritage that is involved with each specific route, as well as information about equipment that will follow safety regulations. They will conduct field work and testing, written and visual drafts of routes, and finally create routes pages, GPS guidelines, and provide photos of cycling routes. In total, this project will cost $35,000. This cost will be broken into three phases within one year. The data of this project will be tracked every two years to follow its growth. Gravel Cycling can be explored in many different ways; alone, guided tours, with friends, or with family. Gravel Cycling will be a great new addition to Cameron County to enhance our biking experiences and our biking routes. 

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Valerie – Calder Wilds

Valerie is an active member of our community here in Cameron County. She was born in the Netherlands then moved to New Zealand where she went to school. She attended college there to study Mammalian Physiology and after college, she did years of traveling. She lived in London, Thailand and Vancouver, BC. She met her husband, Steve, in 2018 on a trip to the United States and moved to Emporium in 2019 to be with him. Valerie began The Cameron County Farmers Market with Josh Zucal as a voluntary activity to help the community in 2022, and she loves doing it. She enjoys meeting new people in the community and she loves the vibe the Farmers Market brings to the community. Everyone is happy to share and sell their goods and make friends in the community. Valerie is glad that she is able to bring everyone together to create new friendships in the community. The Farmer’s Market has a wide range of vendors and goods. They have fresh produce, crafts, crochet items, painting, woodworking, syrup, honey, bakers, and more! Something newly added to the Farmer’s Market is Theme Days! There will be a new theme to follow for each market day. This upcoming market theme is Music and Dance! Bella Rose Fenby, Essy Brackbill, and Mountain Melodies will be performing and then there will be an open mic! Head down to the Farmers Market to check out the awesome vendors and music!

 

Hunter Prosper

Hunter Prosper is a native from Cameron County who is currently famous on social media for his videos. His videos contain clips of a conversation he has with strangers.They can be talking about things such as their greatest love story, a happy memory, or a painful one. He currently is a sensation on TikTok with 210.3 million likes, and 6.4 million followers. He is a 2014 graduate of Cameron County High School. Hunter moved on from Cameron County to attend Lock Haven University to pursue a degree in English. While starting at Lock Haven, he was given advice by his mother to look into Nursing. He took the advice and transferred to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and fell in love with Nursing. He graduated IUP with a degree in Nursing and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to become an Intensive Care Unit Nurse. His first social media post was of a patient he had in the hospital. While being in the ICU, he was beginning to feel burnout. He realized that in making these videos, and talking to strangers he meets, was a good outlet for him. It was like his own therapy. The most fulfilling part about making these videos for him is the therapy he is able to gain, and the therapy someone else may get from talking to him. Transparency in his conversations and interviews has helped him in his success on social media. He will talk to someone for a couple hours before he will even take out his phone for a video. If he wasn’t able to take out his phone and it just was a conversation, that would be just as fulfilling for him. Hunter mainly started making these videos as an outlet for himself, but he soon realized that the conversations also helped the other person he was talking to. In the future, Hunter plans to continue exploring longer videos with his social media, and he is currently working on a novel. He is currently a traveling ICU nurse and he plans to always keep nursing as his priority. He likes to help others, which he is able to do through Nursing, but also through social media. His advice to our community is “Don’t hesitate to listen, we are far more alike than we are different.” I was grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Hunter and hear more about his story! Thank you Hunter!

 

The Knights Wand

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Amanda Knight, who is the owner of The Knights Wand, and who is a crochet extraordinaire! Amanda Knight has been in Emporium for almost a year and she is an active member of our community already! She has been attending the Farmer’s Market since last July, and has had her work submitted in the Cameron County Fair. 

Amanda grew up in Lancaster Pennsylvania, where her love for crocheting began. Her interest really peaked when she won her first blue ribbon at a Manheim Farm show for a blanket. When the pandemic happened, she needed something to pass the time, so she began scrolling through social media to find that there were accounts full of crocheted clothing. This inspired her to begin making her own clothing. In less than one year, she had an article of clothing for each season. She began to work with designers all over the world and The Knights Wand took off. She owns her own crochet business, she is a Level lll crochet instructor with the American Crochet Association, and she teaches classes locally. She is an artist with the Elk County Council on the Arts, she has her work shown locally and globally, and she continues to participate in RAOCKs. 

Before moving to Emporium, she and her family lived in Philadelphia, PA. She started The Knights Wand in 2021 and had little to no sales. One day while in Saint Mary’s, PA, she left a small crocheted Emotional Support Chicken outside the Subway and her work went viral. In a matter of days, she had orders from all over the county. 

Amanda felt a connection with Emporium each time she came to visit her family here. She described it as a “hallmark” town feeling. She appreciates the community for welcoming her with such open arms. She loves being able to meet community members at the Farmer’s Market and she can see herself and her family being happy here for many years to come. I was so glad I was able to hear about her story and I am happy to welcome her to our community!

 

Cameron County Native Nate Sestina

Recently, I had the honor to interview Nate Sestina, a Cameron County native who went on to excel in basketball after playing at Cameron County. Nate shared his timeline after high school and what challenges he faced in his career. He is very grateful for the opportunities he has had and where he is currently able to play. I am glad I was able to hear his story and share it. 

Nate’s love for basketball came from a very young age. From playing in the living room with his brothers on a small hoop, to watching games in the gym, he was always around basketball. His father, Don Sestina, had a great influence on him. Nate stated that his interest in basketball grew because it was never forced on him. He loved being able to sit courtside and watch the Red Raiders play. He mentioned he was grateful for the community that surrounded him as he played. The Cameron County fans were a big part of his success. He said the fans were at the far away games just as much as the home games. Many people helped him along his path to success such as coaches, friends, and family. When he graduated Cameron County, he attended Bucknell University. He was nervous to leave home, but he was excited to continue basketball. He was awakened when he first arrived. The training was a lot more physically intense than it was in high school. The transition to Bucknell was not easy, but he pushed through all the adversity that came his way. After graduating Bucknell, he had the opportunity to continue basketball at the University of Kentucky. He was taught a lot and this is when his career really catapulted. He currently plays in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for Fenerbahce Beko. He travels all over Europe to play in different gyms. He lives in Istanbul, Turkey which he says is amazing and he is grateful he gets to have this experience. He extends his gratitude to our community for all their continued support. He is happy to be able to put on a summer camp here in Cameron County and to be able to give out scholarships each year to graduating students. His advice to young players is to live in the present. Don’t wish it away, enjoy it. For the future, Nate plans to continue playing basketball until he can’t anymore. After that, he may consider coaching. I was grateful to have the opportunity to interview Nate and to be one of the Cameron County locals who cheers him on! 

remote work opportunity turns into family moving to Cameron county

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jared, CiCi, and their daughter Essy, who have been involved in the Remote Workers Program for the Summer of 2023. Jared, CiCi, and Essy were a pleasure to interview, and I was happy to hear their story. Jared and CiCi grew up from two backgrounds. Jared grew up in a small town and CiCi grew up in a large city. Both were looking for that small town feel. They lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which they thought was going to give them that small town feel. Jared found an application online from the PAWilds, that was offering families to come to work remotely in Cameron County. He filled out the application, and found out later on, that they were chosen. They would come to Cameron County for the month of June. The family was ecstatic about the opportunity. When they arrived here on Father’s Day, they were immediately welcomed by such a great community. Savannah Comfort housed them while they were here, and people in the community welcomed them with open arms. They met Tina Solak, the Zucal family, and other community members who became fast friends. The family described Cameron County as green, beautiful, and community oriented. They found a fast connection to the area and CiCi went to look at one house with Essy, and they fell in love, made an offer, got the house, and decided to change their lives and move to Cameron County. They felt a strong sense of home and community here and have been here full-time since Christmas. Their goals for their future here are to help the community and to help Cameron County thrive and grow. I was glad to interview this wonderful family and we are happy to welcome them to our wonderful town!