GARDNERS, PA (September 30, 2010) - Hay rides, pumpkin carving, apple cider making and candle dipping are among the activities for visitors to Pine Grove Furnace State Park on Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 17. It is the park's Fall Furnace Fest.

"In addition to these activities during the two days of Fall Furnace Fest, we will have blacksmith and coal making demonstrations, park bicycle and history tours and nature crafts," said Pine Grove Furnace State Park Manager Jason Zimmerman. "There also will be entertainment by music groups and country line dancing."

The event will run during the day from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, pumpkins illuminated by candles will be floated on Fuller Lake and the mysterious "Hairy Hand" will emerge from the lake.  "The fictional folk lore of the "Hairy Hand" story dates back to the 1980's and is a fun and spooky story for participants of all ages," Zimmerman said.

From 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, a bonfire and history tours will be held at of the Iron Master's Mansion, which is currently being remodeled through efforts with the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy,

The history of Pine Grove Furnace State Park dates back to 1764 when the first iron works were built on the property. Through various owners and expansions, the iron works were productive until 1895 when new technologies put it and other iron producers out of business.  Its owners and operators are closely linked to area development, the Civil War and the formation of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. When bought by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1913, part of the property became Pine Grove Furnace State Park and much of the rest became Michaux State Forest. Some of the historic buildings dating back to the charcoal iron community still stand and include the furnace, ironmaster's mansion, clerk's office, stable, grist mill (now the Appalachian Trail Museum), the second iron master's mansion (now the park office) and several residences. Remnants of raceways, charcoal hearths and related man-made features are still discernible.  In 1977, Pine Grove Iron Works was entered in the National Register of Historical Places.

On Saturday from noon to 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m., the Appalachian Trail Museum will be open. The museum, in the 200-year-old grist mill at Pine Grove Furnace Park, opened on June 5, 2010, as a tribute to the men and women who built the 2,179 mile trail in the late 1930's and to those who hike and maintain it today. The trail stretches from Maine to Georgia, goes through 14 states and has its midway point near the Appalachian Trail Museum.

Fall Furnace Fest admission and Appalachian Trail Museum admission are free along with most of the days activities.  Anyone interested in making a contribution or volunteering for Fall Furnace Fest should call the Pine Grove Furnace State Park office at 717-486-7174.

About Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Steeped in natural and historical features, the 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is in a beautiful mountain setting in southern Cumberland County. Surrounded by Michaux State Forest, Pine Grove Furnace features two lakes, 25-acre Laurel Lake and 1.7-acre Fuller Lake, a historic area and the Appalachian Trail. The park is easily reached from I-81. Visitors should take Exit 37 to PA 233 south then travel for eight miles.  For more information on DCNR, visit  

About the Appalachian Trail Museum Society

The Appalachian Trail Museum Society, a 501-C-3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2002, organizes programs, exhibits, volunteers and fundraising nationwide for the Appalachian Trail Museum.  The museum opened on June 5, 2010, as a tribute to the thousands of men, women and families who have hiked and maintained the 2,179 mile long hiking trail that passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. Located in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, Pennsylvania, the museum is conveniently near Carlisle, Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Additional information is available at