To the editor: Our eighth annual Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts has come and gone as fast as the wind that accompanied it. Out of all the festivals that we planned, I believe this was my favorite because it had a theme, F&S Brewery, and a family that generated the enthusiasm for that theme, the Schmidts. The brewery once enabled a lot of people in our area to earn a living and embrace many fond memories. The Schmidts truly enjoyed their time in Shamokin, and Bill and his wife went around to vendors at the festival, gave out many hugs and expressed appreciation for the hospitality that was shown to them. We loved having them.

Our parade seems to grow every year. More people contact us to participate, which is a good sign. The community is growing in its interest in the town's heritage and is willing to help promote it; this is good! Thank you to Pam Burns, who always does a great job organizing the parade, and for all those who participated.

The entertainment by Marla and the Juniper St. Band was short and we had to cancel the luminary service Friday night because of the wind and rain. Here is a list of luminaries that were assembled and displayed on Lincoln Street for a short time:

In honor of: Crystal. A. Hall by Garth Hall, Members of our Armed Forces by Garth Hall. In Memory of: Garth C. Hall, Joseph and Sara Hall, Nick and Florence Shebelsky, Sgt. Matthew J. Sandri, Capt. Robert C. Scheetz Jr and Dick Morgan, all by Garth Hall; Edward Kurtz by Arlene Letcavage; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fedorko and Joseph Checkanski by Beverly Katalinas; Douglas Burke by Gary Burke; Mr. and Mrs. George K. Renn, Mrs. Shirley Polyniak and Joanne Shervanick by the Kline family; Frank and Pauline Broscious by Bill and Rose Broscious; Dorothy Burke by Tracy and Gary Burke; Mary Ellen Fronczak by Tracy Burke; deceased loved ones of the Holland family and deceased loved ones of the Slodysko family by Ann and Andy Slodysko; Michael and Helen Kushner, Nicholas and Mary Kushner and James and Lorraine Kushner by Doreen Kushner; Frederick "Fritz" and Marian L. Reed by Debra A. Reed Losiewicz; Mam (Mary Adams) by Nikki Williams; Ray and Marie Straub by Pat, Grace, Judy, Roger and Sonny; Uncle Tony Deibler by Amy Roseanne; Tony Deibler by Pat Deibler; Jason M. Long by Jana Horn, and Owen Francis Derk by Jeanne Derk Shaffer.

On Saturday, the information booth lost its tent to the wind at noon. Many others met the same demise but kept a positive attitude and held out as long as they could. The feedback I received from vendors has all been positive. Some vendors even sold out early, not expecting the amount of business in such a short time. Many had record sales, and for that we are thankful. I always said Shamokin people are very resilient and hard working; it must come from the mining days. They proved it to be true on Saturday when they braved the weather and stuck it out.

Northwestern Academy provided us with a brand new stage this year, and we want to thank them for that. We also would like to thank the Independence Fire Company, which is always accommodating, and Shamokin officials and workers; without them we could not pull this off. Also, thanks to The News-Item for all the great coverage and investigative work on providing history of the F&S Brewery. The Shamokin Area football team collected the garbage and kept Market Street clean - thank you to them, also.

It takes a lot of financial support to bring this festival to fruition and we are grateful for the following sponsors who helped us bring you entertainment, tours and exhibits: PPL, McDonald's, OIP in Shamokin, Clearwater Swimming Pools, Central Penn Physical, Tom Olcese Pharmacy, which sponsored the Covered Bridge Cloggers; Olvany Insurance, which sponsored printing materials; Aqua, which sponsored the trolley; Matus Enterprises, Cherokee Pharmacy, The Plumbing Outlet, which sponsored the Porta Potties; Toy Factory, Bimbo Bakeries, Mountain View Nursing, which sponsored the Butterfly Tent and Exhibit; Service Electric, which sponsored Friday night entertainment; Medicine Shoppe, which sponsored the Balloon Man; More Than Just Hair, which sponsored the luminary service; Safeco, which sponsored the 5k, and Susquehanna Bank, which sponsored Stanky and the Coalminers. When you see any of these sponsors, thank them for supporting the festival; without them, we couldn't have the variety of entertainment and exhibits we do.

Last but not least, thank you to all of you for supporting us. Our Anne Miles Children's Theatre is this summer with presentations of "Little Mermaid" and "Annie." Exhibits continue in the Fine Art Gallery daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our Fall Festival and Downtown Christmas will end our year's activities.

Watch the paper for news on the Kallaway Center, and we'll soon be unveiling of our second and third murals and announcing our fourth for the summer.

Feel free to contact me at jeannes@ptd.net or call 850-9121 if you would like any information on our events.

Jeanne Shaffer

(Shaffer is executive director of the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities.)