Summer is officially here. I love the sounds of summer - lawn mowers, mourning doves, thunderstorms, airplanes overhead, cicadas, sprinklers and children laughing and splashing in the pool. Days full of sun and big white fluffy clouds followed by nights filled with fireflies remind me of my school-free summers full of play and adventures, with the only thing to worry about was getting home in time for dinner. I think summer brings out the kid in us all, so be sure to embrace July and all it offers in the Susquehanna River Valley.

July is chock-full of festivals and shows. We have Lewisburg's Sidewalk Chalk Festival, the Sunbury Celebration, Mifflinburg's Blueberries and Bluegrass Festival, Selinsgrove's Antiques on the Avenue (formerly Antiques on the Isle), Danville's Iron Heritage Festival (Civil War-themed this year), and the qnnual Nature and Arts Festival at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Arts south of Sunbury. Other must-see events include the amazing Heritage Aviation Days Airshow at the Selinsgrove Airport from July 19 to 21, Cruise-In at the Country Cupboard, Giant Multi-Site Yard Sale and Christmas in July at the Emporium in Mifflinburg. Road trip suggestion - a scenic daytrip to attend Eagles Mere's annual summer antique market.

The only thing better than acting like a kid this summer is being one. July's "Just for Kids" events offer a variety of themed camps and programs. Be sure to check out our website for more information on events at Owens Farms, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, the Packwood House Museum's workshops on painting, pottery and nature sketchbooks and the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum's summer history camp.

More live music resonates throughout the Susquehanna River Valley. Enjoy the summer concerts at Shikellamy State Park, Central Oak Heights, Slifer House Museum or in the towns of Sunbury, Milton, Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Mifflinburg and Catawissa - you'll find complete listings of concert days and times on our website. If marching bands get you pumped up, you will not want to miss the Cavalcade of Champions at Bucknell University today. Roadtrip suggestion - head north to Wellsboro and the surrounding area to enjoy thei two-week Endless Mountain Music Festival.

If being outside and enjoying the great outdoors is your favorite type of summer fun, July provides a plethora of choices. Animal lovers will enjoy the butterflies, "Dinosaurs Come to Life" or the new "Island Giants" Komodo dragon exhibits at Clyde Peeling's Reptiland; the wild and exotic animals at T&D Cats of the World, and the favorite and familiar animals found at Owen's Farm outside of Sunbury. Don't miss Sunbury's first annual Light Up the Sky kickball tournament today.

July showcases the Susquehanna River, offering the "Lewisburg Appetizer Kayak Trip," the "Peace of the Susquehanna Kayak Trip," the "McKees Adventure Guided Recreational Kayak Trip," the "Jewel of the West Branch Kayak Trip" or the River Town Paddle for Friends of the Milton State Park.

History and heritage lovers can check out the Gutelius House Museum in Mifflinburg and enjoy the many programs offered by the Union County Historical Society during their Bicentennial. You will not want to miss the Native American Historical River Tour July 29 - first come, first served, reservations required.

For more information on all July events in the Susquehanna River Valley, go to VisitCentralPA.org; sign up for our weekly e-newsletter; call us at 1-800-525-7320; stop by our Visitor Center on Route 15, or download our new mobile apps at www.VisitCentralPA.org/mobile.asp.

(Andrew Miller is the executive director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.)