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First public event held at Sprankle’s Woods a sylvan success

From left, Doug Sprankle, and festival coordinators Carrie Irvine and Kylie Troyan, pose at the Strawberry Moon Festival Saturday, June 8. The event, which was held Sunday as well, was a nature-based, holistic festival with 75 vendors, games and other features. It marked the first event to be held at Sprankle’s Woods on Riemer Road in Jefferson Township.

JEFFERSON TWP — It was a groovy way to showcase a new outdoor event venue in the county.

The Strawberry Moon Festival will go in the books as the first public event to be held at Sprankle’s Woods on Riemer Road.

The 75 vendors who set up at the festival took up 10 of the expansive property’s 40 acres.

Doug Sprankle said when not being used for events, the family is engaging in silviculture farming, which is caring for trees so they will regenerate. The Sprankles will harvest trees for firewood in the practice.

Sprankle seemed delighted with the Strawberry Moon Festival on Saturday afternoon.

“We are really humbled to have so many people support and idea,” he said of Sprankle’s Woods. “We’re super excited to share it with a lot of awesome people.”

Carrie Irvine and Kylie Troyan served as coordinators of the festival.

They said 75 vendors set up at Sprankle’s Woods to sell their food, wares or services.

Crafters and artisans food vendors, cocktail trucks, a wine booth and some nonprofits took their place among the broad-leaved trees that shaded the venue.

Irvine said 15 games for adults and children were available, and a “Green Zone” provided a quiet, wooded space where energy workers, healers and readers could pursue their abilities with the festival’s attendees.

Instead of opening the festival to any sellers willing to sign up, she said vendors were hand-picked to provide more local items and food.

“Let’s be honest,” Irvine said with a laugh. “We stalked them on social media.”

She explained the name of the festival as well.

“Every full moon in June is a strawberry moon, which is a reminder to pick all the remaining strawberries,” Irvine said.

She said the festival was meant to have a holistic theme.

“Lots of people are selling nature-based products,” she said.

Troyan said Sprankle’s Woods was the ideal venue for the first Strawberry Moon Festival.

“The opportunity to walk through the woods is absolutely magical and unique,” she said. “The serenity of the property is a huge selling point to holding it here.”

Meghan Harris, of West Deer Township, Allegheny County, agreed.

“I like the space,” she said as she surveyed the shady Sprankle’s Woods. “It’s kind of like a camping vibe.”

She and her friend, Amy Shick, of Buffalo Township, strolled the grounds carrying a disco lemonade from the Walktail booth. The drinks were appropriately served in a large plastic strawberry with a straw.

“I came out to support the local businesses,” Shick said. “It’s a beautiful space.”

Lindsay and Zak Sutter, of Middlesex Township, attended because Lindsay’s sister was a vendor.

“We came to support her and to see what other natural and holistic stuff is here,” Lindsey said. “There’s a lot more than I expected.”

She said unlike street fairs or smaller venues, booths are not lined up against each other.

“Each vendor booth feels private,” Lindsey said. “Every vendor is very much able to personalize their space.”

Zak agreed, calling Sprankle’s Woods a unique location.

“We already talked about coming to the event in October,” he said. “It highlights the rural nature of the county and everyone is so nice and welcoming.”

He also appreciated the food choices at the festival.

“On the Lamb is the best gyro I’ve ever had,” he said. “I know a couple places in Pittsburgh and I thought they were the best, but not anymore.”

Josh Orris, the Knoch varsity wrestling coach, had a unique view of the festival from his perch on the seat of a dunk tank.

Orris figured he got dunked about 20 times.

Sprankle’s rented the dunk tank and offered it to Knoch sports teams or clubs as a way to raise money.

In addition to wrestling, Knoch varsity cheerleaders took a shift at the dunk tank later in the day on Saturday.

“It’s cold,” a dripping wet Orris said of the water in the tank.

He was thrilled when Sprankle offered the dunk tank as a fundraiser, although he figure he’d be getting soaked.

“Sign us up,” Orris said of his reaction to the offer.

“We look to provide nice things for the kids,” he said. “If we have the opportunity to raise some funds and have fun doing it, I’m all for it.”

He said the team and boosters organization is grateful for the support they receive from the Sprankle family.

“They are awesome,” Orris said. “We set up at all their events. They are very welcoming to our program.”

Admission to the Strawberry Moon Festival was $5 for Saturday or Sunday.

Stephanie Packard, left, of Bradford, McKean County, buys a log filled with mushroom seeds from Elaina Brown, right, owner of Steel City Spore. Brown was one of 75 vendors at the Strawberry Moon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, at Sprankle’s Woods in Jefferson Township. The festival was the first event held at the venue.
A mighty toss does not sink Josh Orris, Knoch varsity wrestling coach. The dunk tank was rented and set up by Doug Sprankle at the Strawberry Moon Festival June 8 and 9 to allow Knoch sports teams and groups to raise money. The Knoch cheerleaders manned the tank Saturday evening.

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