Sand sculpture. The bonfire on the beach. Pancakes. Peach. Hovering kites.

Discover Presque Isle, a festival celebrating the state park, is back from its pandemic-induced hiatus. While there are some differences this year in the wake of the coronavirus, many popular activities are back and will continue throughout the weekend.

“Our goal is to showcase all that Presque Isle has to offer,” said Jon DeMarco, executive director of the nonprofit Presque Isle that hosts the event.

Crowds view sand sculptures on Beach 11 of Presque Isle State Park during the Presque Isle Discovery on July 29, 2017.

The celebration was scheduled to begin on Wednesday with the return of the UPMC Sunset Music Series. Three more weekly concerts are planned in the series, which normally takes place in early summer. Until last week, the show’s status remained to be determined, but the partnership managed to put something in place after the restrictions on coronaviruses eased.

The Sunset Music Series and Discover Presque Isle were both canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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DeMarco said the partnership is particularly keen to host events this year in honor of Presque Isle’s 100th anniversary as a state park.

Mark 100 years:Presque Isle State Park Celebrates Anniversary: ​​Activities, Events, Exhibits, Upgrades

He said this year’s Discover Presque Isle offers a “mix of quality activities”.

Besides the sunset concert, the first day of Wednesday was also to include yoga, pilates, and yogalates in the morning and evening on Beach 8; afternoon educational activity stations at Presque Isle Lighthouse, which run through Sunday; and a morning stroll along the park’s shores led by a Presque Isle naturalist. Some programs, such as the Shore Walk, are open to a limited number of participants and require pre-registration.

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Thursday’s activities will include a ‘100 Year History Ride’ and a bike safety program that includes the distribution of helmets and lights on a first come, first served basis. Cycling is one of the popular recreational activities that attracts people to the peninsula.

Also on Thursday there will be an outdoor movie night featuring the original “Jaws” shown in the Waldameer overflow parking lot next to the park’s Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive, which was built on the site of the former Peninsula Drive-In.

Friday highlights include a morning bike tour of the park and the Kite Beach Illumination Night at Sunset Point. The kites will be on this beach at least from Friday to Sunday.

Lee Sedgwick of Millcreek Township flies kites at Sunset Point in Presque Isle State Park on July 27, 2019. Sedgwick and other kites were participating in the Discover Presque Isle event.

The Presque Isle Rotary Club will be back to serve pancakes for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The price is $ 8 for adults and $ 5 for children under 12. Pontoon boat trips on the lagoons will also be available on both days.

Also on Saturday, local bands will perform live music for eight hours at Beach 11. The sand sculpture competition also starts there that morning while the volleyball challenge takes place at Beach 6.

Saturday night will end with the giant bonfire on Beach 11.

Sunday will bring birding activities and crafts for the kids as well as an artist showcase from Presque Isle Gallery & Gifts, the store inside the Ridge Center.

To see the full program of Discover Presque Isle events, visit

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No craft / vendor area, no food trucks, but extra festival days

Because Discover Presque Isle and the Sunset Music Series were set up quickly, and due to lingering concerns about crowds gathering in a particular space, the craft and vending area and food trucks will not be among the options. respective events, DeMarco said.

He also said festival activities were spread over five days instead of the usual three to help control crowds.

People surround a bonfire on Beach 11 in Presque Isle State Park during Discover Presque Isle on July 29, 2017.

Presque Isle typically attracts around 4 million visitors per year. Attendance increased by more than 900,000 in 2020 as people headed outdoors for recreation during the pandemic and the increase in traffic continued this year.

“We were aware that the park is seeing a record number of visitors,” said DeMarco, adding that this was its busiest time of the year.

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Donations accepted will be used for the improvement of the park

Most of the activities that are part of Discover Presque Isle are free to attendees, although donations are accepted, organizers said.

The Presque Isle partnership will also be offering a limited edition 100th anniversary woodchip as part of the new “Chip in for Presque Isle” program. Decorative tokens, similar to frog buttons from past Discover Presque Isle festivals, will be available for a minimum donation of $ 5.

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Proceeds from this year’s fundraising events will be used to purchase additional lifeguard stations, mats that can be placed on beaches to allow access for wheelchairs and people who have difficulty moving around the area. sand, charcoal grills, picnic tables and a towable rescue jet ski, officials said. .

While fundraising is a benefit of Discover Presque Isle, DeMarco said the festival’s goal is to bring people to the park and show them what it has to offer.

“The goal is for people to really experience Presque Isle, not just the things we offer, but all the park has to offer naturally,” he said.

Contact Dana Massing at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ETNmassing.

If you are going to

Discover Presque Isle

  • from wednesday to sunday
  • Dates, times and locations vary depending on the event. Many events are free, but donations are accepted. Highlights include:
  • Outdoor Film: Thursday, 8:30 p.m., Waldameer Overflow Parking Lot next to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Screening “Jaws” (1975, PG).
  • Kite Beach Illumination: Friday, 8 pm-11pm, Sunset Point.
  • Sand sculpture competition: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., beach 11.
  • Volleyball Challenge: Saturday, from 8:30 am, beach 6.
  • Bonfire: Saturday, 9-10 p.m., beach 11
  • Family Fishing: Saturday 9-11 a.m., Waterworks Pond near the Rotary Lodge.
  • Pancake lunch: Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Rotary Pavilion. $ 8 for adults and $ 5 for children under 12.
  • Find the full program at

Sunset Music Series

  • Wednesday to August 11 at Beach 11. The first group listed should play at 5:30 pm. The second group will perform at 7.15pm.
  • July 21: Lori Burke, Key West Express
  • July 28: Claire Stuczynski with Eric Brewer, The Breeze Band
  • August 4: Rankin & Schell, shaded side
  • August 11: Tyler Smilo, Fox Grotto (Falling Hollywood)
  • Release; donations accepted. Bring your own chairs, blankets, food and drinks (alcohol prohibited). Food and drinks also available for purchase.
  • Learn more at

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