Sunday, August 28, 2016

Nature Wonder Weekend Spotlights Wild Foods

Buffet table with prepared wild foods Credit: Curtest Photo

Wild food foragers from across the country will return to North Bend State Park Sept. 16–18, 2016, for the 49th annual Nature Wonder Weekend. Reservations are open and available for this annual gathering held at the park located on the north fork of the Hughes River near Cairo, West Virginia.

Featured speakers include wild foods cooking author Leda Meredith and hearth cook and food historians Martha and Richard Hartley.

“This year’s program will highlight foraging as well as wild food preparation and preservation, past and present,” said Deputy Director Emily Fleming of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The event, North America’s premier and longest-running wild foods event, begins Friday evening and concludes Sunday midmorning. It includes speakers, presentations, nature walks and collection and preparation of wild foods.

Activities include a park tour, wild food identification instruction, the Hazel Wood National Wild Food Cooking Contest and the Bill Faust Wild Cake Contest. The Wild Drink Contest winner is awarded the honorary Maxine Scarbro Friendship Cup.

The weekend offers overnight packages as well as day-only attendance options. The individual cost is $174 when two people share a room. This rate includes five traditional Appalachian-style buffet meals provided by North Bend Lodge Restaurant, as well as all activities and programs. Other rates are available for single occupancy rooms, cabins and fees for meals-only or single activities.

Overnight options include lodge rooms, cabins or camping sites. Please specify your preference during registration. Openings are available for campsites and cabins, but lodge rooms are filling fast, so early registration is important for those who want to stay in the lodge.To register, please contact Wendy Greene at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at 304-558-2754 or email Reservation forms and additional information are available online at the Event Calendar listings at

Nature Wonder Weekend Schedule Registration begins at the North Bend State Park Lodge Friday, Sept. 16, from 2 to 8 p.m. A park tour is scheduled at 3 p.m. and a buffet dinner is at 6:30 p.m. The Wild Foods Cooking Contest will be held that evening, including prizes for best wild food cooks, best wild cake and best wild drink.

After Saturday breakfast, small groups will take guided hikes in search of edible wild foods. Following lunch, the groups will prepare wild foods for the social hour that afternoon. A buffet dinner is available in the lodge restaurant Saturday evening. Sunday will include a morning service and a wild foods workshop.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Touchstone Center for Crafts Fall Workshop

Touchstone Center for Crafts presents a fall workshop, Metal Mesh, with Pittsburgh based sculptor Atticus Adams.  September 23-25, 2016.

Atticus Adams will lead a workshop in sculptural exploration using metal mesh and other approachable and readily available materials. 

Known for his metal fiber sculptures, Atticus has been creating award winning sculpture and art from mesh and other industrial materials since 1992.  His work is in numerous private collections and has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows across the U.S.  His formal art training included studies at Yale, Rhode Island School of Design, and Harvard’s School of Architecture.  For a gallery of photos, a list of shows, an artist’s statement and resume –

“Metal mesh is a beautiful, flexible material that allows you to explore shadow and transparency in endless ways,” he says. “The material lends itself to these biomorphic shapes, which aren’t necessarily intentional . . . The sculptures seem fragile but are actually quite resilient—like nature itself,” Atticus Adams.

For Touchstone Center for Crafts workshop registration,

Metal Wreath by Atticus Adams

Touchstone is Pennsylvania’s only residential craft center.  Located in Farmington, the campus is on 150 acres of pristine woodlands, nestled in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  FB at touchstonecenterforcrafts; IG @touchstonecenterforcrafts

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival Promises 'A Good Time!! "

Boss Wench at Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival; Courtesy Photo

I’m a week late on this one but the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival lasts six weekends and closes on September 25.

AFFORDABLE FUN for EVERYONE !With More Turkey Legs, Music, Magic, and Merriment than Ever Before. Open Six Glorious Weekends & Labor Day August 20th ~ September25th
Located at the Gateway to the Laurel Highlands.Just southeast of Pittsburgh off I-70, exit 51A.

The Festival looks to an Exciting & Memorable 10th season! Festival goers will enjoy a Medieval Theme Park filled with an Adventure to the Past!

Today’s audience wants to be more then spectators. They want to participate and be surrounded by their entertainment as they seek to escape the everyday world. At the Festival, the audience is a special guest in another place and time.

Some of the Best Entertainment in all theLand!~ Back by popular demand… Cast in Bronze... ~ Come enjoy the Amazing Musical Adventure of the “Carillon” Bells, a rare medieval instrument of bells weighing fourtons!

The Washing Well Wenches ~ Doing laundry has never been so much fun!

Jousting at the Festival

The Joust: The Knight’s of Noble Cause Productions ~ Come experience the thrill of Chivalrous Knights and Brave Steeds engaging daily in 3 Exciting Jousting Competitions!  Featuring the Finest in Equestrian Skills and Combat Jousting

 Rick Stratton, Master Hypnotist ~ Be Amazed by the Power of the Mind!

The German Brothers ~ Outrageously amusing “German Rap Stars”!

The Roving Blades ~ Singers & instrumentalists focused on Celtic, maritime, and world music! They’ll keep you smiling, even if you’re thrown overboard!

The Righteous Blackguards ~ Bringing their irreverent blend of Celtic, Folk, & drinking songs to the stage, you’ll never have more fun!

 The Angels ~ Heroines in Disguise! Heavenly beautiful, devilishly dangerous!

The Duelists ~ Matching wit & witticism with combat & comedy, The Duelists use rapiers & daggers, swords & shields, axes, halberds, maces, flails and more, to deliver exciting and non stop Sword fighting action!

The CRAIC Show ~ “Bagpipes & Drums = Renaissance Rock ‘n Roll! “ Celtic Music has never been performed like this before! High-Spirited, Musically Savvy, Foot Stomping’ and Outrageously Energetic Music to get your heart pumping.

Adult Admission is $19.95 with $3 off discount tickets available at all participating Walgreens. Discount coupons are also available at Wendy’s and Shop N’ Save Stores throughout the Pittsburgh Region. Children 5-12 are $9, and children under 5 are free. 

For information call 724-872-1670 or visit the web at

Living Statue

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Western PA National Parks Invite Everyone to #FindYourPark during the Centennial Birthday Weekend

Albert Gallatin Celebrates NPS 100th Anniversary Credit: NPS

The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday this weekend.  With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, the NPS is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

To make it easier for visitors to #FindYourPark entrance fees will be waived nationwide including at the three Western PA National Park Sites that charge an entrance fee. This includes Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Johnstown Flood National Memorial and Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. Flight 93 National Memorial and Friendship Hill NHS are fee-free year round. All entrance fees are waived from August 25 through August 28 to encourage everyone to visit a nearby Park and celebrate the NPS 100th birthday. 

August 25 through August 28 – our birthday weekend – will be a nationwide celebration of national parks, and we’re inviting everyone to the party,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “We like to think that we look pretty good for 100, and with so many events and activities to commemorate this milestone, we hope all Americans will join us to celebrate the breathtaking landscapes and inspiring history in our nation’s parks and public lands.  Whether it is in a distant state or in your own community, there are hundreds of ways and places to find your park!”

On Thursday August 25, to celebrate the NPS Birthday with a bang, Fort Necessity NB Rangers and volunteers will fire reproduction artillery pieces to commemorate the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service.  These historic weapons demonstrations will take place at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Friendship Hill NHS Rangers and volunteers will celebrate the creation of the National Park Service by offering special NPS Centennial themed guided tours of the Gallatin House throughout the day.

Flight 93 National Memorial Park Rangers will present the “Discovery Table” and other special NPS Centennial programs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in the Learning Center. The Children’s Discovery Table helps younger visitors understand the story of Flight 93 and the Memorial that honors the passengers and crew through tangible objects. 

At all five Western PA National Park Service sites children are invited to celebrate the National Park Services 100th birthday during the upcoming weekend by participating in free special Centennial Junior Ranger programs at each Park. Any Junior Ranger who completes all five of the National Parks of Western Pennsylvania Junior Ranger Programs will earn a special 2016 patch.  To learn more check out Centennial Junior Ranger Program.

On Saturday, August  27, at Johnstown Flood National Memorial there will be a free, special program, presented at 7:00 pm in the Visitor Center Auditorium entitled “Evening on the Lake: Judge John W. Kephart’s Connection to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.” Susie Huber, of the Cambria County Historical Society, will discuss the papers of PA Supreme Court Justice John W. Kephart. Approximately 12 years after the Johnstown Flood of 1889, Kephart, a young lawyer was assigned to “wrap up” business at the site of the Clubhouse and grounds of the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club. This presentation will include the opportunity for visitors to view never before displayed original Club records and new evidence as to the ownership of the cottages on grounds.

To continue the national park adventure beyond these entrance fee free days, the $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 sites, including all national parks, throughout the year. There are also a variety of free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.
Trail to Memorial Plaza at Flight 93 NM Credit: NPS

About the Western PA National Parks: Visit the parks website Western PA National Parks, Facebook pages, email or call MaryEllen Snyder at 724-329-8131 for more information on the events planned in the five National Parks in Western PA.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 412 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook at, Twitter at, and YouTube at

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh Holding Auditions for New Members

Thinking of joining the Bach Choir?

Audition Process

To become a member of Bach Choir of Pittsburgh you must pass a musical audition. For details and to schedule a time, contact auditions coordinator, Carter Wellons at

New singers will prepare a song of their choice. They need to bring a copy of their music for the accompanist and may sing memorized if desired. Sight singing will be required. Non-core auditions are five minutes in length.
For singers whose audition is successful, an orientation session for new members will be held when rehearsals start in the fall.
All choir members must re-audition for each season.

Core Auditions

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh supports a professional core of paid singers. These positions are selected based on core auditions and held for one season at a time. Those interested in auditioning for the professional core will sing two memorized songs in different languages. They will need to bring copies of their music for the accompanist. Core auditions require demonstrating knowledge of music theory and terminology, chords and intervals. Sight singing will be required. Core auditions are ten minutes in length.

Membership Expectations

To join the Choir implies a desire to participate in making great music together with the conductor and your fellow singers, and a promise to attend the rehearsals and the concerts for the entire season. The Choir’s rehearsal and subscription season runs from late August through early May.

Rehearsals are held each Tuesday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Rehearsals usually begin the first Tuesday after Labor Day and end in early May following the last scheduled season concert.

There are two dress rehearsals, typically the Thursday and Friday evening before each concert weekend, which all members are required to attend. Concerts are typically Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. A half-day, Saturday choir retreat may also be required during the fall or spring, depending on the difficulty of the music and concert schedule.

Choir members are expected to pay dues to the organization each year. Dues for this season are $185 ($155 for students and seniors [65+]). Dues help cover a small portion of expenses related to music purchase and copying, artistic and administrative staff, liability insurance, and concert venue rental. If paid prior to the first rehearsal there is a $10 discount ($175 and $145). Payment schedules can be arranged and there is a small scholarship pool for those needing help.

Concert dress for women is a solid black one-piece dress or two-piece top/skirt combination. Men wear a black tuxedo with black bow tie and a white shirt.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anchor Distilling Co. and Nikka Japanese Whiskey Introduce Coffey Malt Whiskey to the U.S.

Named for creator Aeneas Coffey, whose 1930s patented continuous-still design changed distilling, the two Coffey stills at Nikka Whisky Company’s Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai, Japan, were imported from Scotland in 1963 and are the masterful instruments behind Nikka and U.S. importer Anchor Distilling Company newest entry into the Japanese whisky market in the U.S.: Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky, which launched nationwide in May joined the beloved Coffey Grain Whisky, which arrived in the U.S. in 2013.

Distilled from 100% malted barley through a Coffey still, which is rarely done given the complexity and skill required, Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky boasts notes of cinnamon, clove, lemon and rich oak, making it ideal for sipping neat or as the base spirit in a cocktail. The Coffey stills contribute the unique depth and flavor of the distillate, not found in modern column stills of today.

"This latest release to the U.S. market is just another example of the skill and finesse the Nikka distilling team puts into every whisky they produce," says Dennis Carr, president of Anchor Distilling Company. "We couldn’t be more excited to share this incredible malt whisky with the country’s most discerning bartenders and consumers."

Tasting Notes: Nikka Coffey Malt (45% ABV, $74.99 SRP)
Nose:   Notes of rich spices and candied citrus.
Palate: Robust dense texture with notes of cinnamon, clove and lemon.
Finish: A long finish with a blend of rich oak, tobacco and mild chocolate

Equally adept as a neat serve as in a cocktail, Nikka Coffey Malt serves as a flavorful base spirit in an Old Fashioned:

Nikka Coffey Malt Old Fashioned

2.5 oz Nikka Coffey Malt
0.5 oz Demerara Syrup
4 dashes Abbott's bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

In an old-fashioned glass, muddle lemon peel with bitters and demerara syrup – just enough to bruise the peel and release its oils. Add Nikka Coffey Malt and ice; stir for 20 to 30 seconds, or until well chilled.

* A rare spirit produced from 100% malted barley distilled
in a continuous column still *

* Named for pioneer still designer Aeneas Coffey *

* Notes of cinnamon, clove, lemon and oak, making it ideal for
sipping neat or in a cocktail *

For more information on Nikka or distribution, visit or email

About Anchor Distilling Company
Named the 2015 Icons of Whisky Importer of the Year by Whisky Magazine, Anchor Distilling Company aims to provide the bridge between discerning buyers and world's finest spirits. A privately owned San Francisco based distiller and importer, Anchor boasts a portfolio with over 300 premium niche spirits from nearly 23 countries. Our products are from multi-generational family-owned companies, and are sought by enthusiasts and connoisseurs for their superior hand-crafted artisanal qualities. In addition to being an importer, Anchor Distilling is dedicated to creating very small batches of traditionally distilled spirits.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Durang's Tony-Nominated, Musical Comedy Staged at Genesius Theater

Nathaniel Yost as Hank singing "We're in a Salad" Credit:Justin Sines

The Summer Company will be performing its third and final show of the 2016 season, "A History of the American Film," with book and lyrics by Christopher Durang and music by Mel Marvin. The show is directed by one of the founders of The Summer Company - John E. Lane, Jr.

A History of the American Film won Durang a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical when it premiered in 1978. A hilarious satire of American films, especially those from the 1930s through the 1950s. The cast play a ton of characters, and the parts they play are wild parodies from silent movies, to movie musicals, to war films and even screwball comedies.

Colleen Garrison as Loretta, Jill Jeffrey as Bette, and Sarah Murtha as Eve Credit: Justin Sines

The production runs August 18-21 and August 25-28. Thursday through Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at  2 p.m. All shows will be performed at the Genesius Theater at Duquesne University, adjacent to the Mary Pappert School of Music. Ticket prices are $15 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. Group rates are also available. Tickets can be purchased at