Beginning this weekend the Venango Area Chamber, the event’s host, lists many of these events as unofficial kick-offs to the festival.
The annual Bike-n-Brew this Saturday begins with a family oriented biking scavenger hunt followed by a more adult oriented brew fest at night. Also on Saturday the annual Hop Homan and Chops Cunningham Memorial Softball Tournament kick-off a weekend full of ball at the Hasson and Mitchell Avenue fields. The softball games continue Sunday.
Wednesday Justus Park gets filled with puppy barks, cute meowing kittens and the occasional slithering snake during a pet show. Downtown the art shows open for the weekend, Max Schang play fills the down full of blues from Town Square as the Elks serve up their best BBQ chicken across the street.
And the festival hasn’t even started yet.
Venango Area Chamber of Commerce director Susan Williams said that is the traditional night for her to just feel the sense of community that only an old-fashioned festival can bring. She said she doesn't think she has missed one since it began.
“You go get spaghetti, you walk down to the plaza to eat ice cream and listen to Mostly Brass,” she said. She added how much fun it is to see the children having fun, the crowning of the queen and all the other music into the evening.
If you’re planning to drive through Oil City on the weekend put your destination into GPS because Seneca Street will be closed down for events both Saturday and Sunday. The annual craft and vendor festival and the Fireman’s 5k race on Saturday and the Car show on Sunday turns the street into a park for the weekend.
Also on Saturday something called Phydeaux’s Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show will be around Town Square. “It’s a family friendly show that combines comedy, illusion, and pure PT Barnum hyperbole,” the OHF website explains. The Issak Walton children’s fishing derby kicks off in the morning too. And, if you ever wanted to have a family photo that looks like it was taken in the 1800s then a photo booth set along Seneca Street Saturday and Sunday is where you want to be.
And there is more, a bike rodeo for kids will be hosted by PennDOT and there is a brunch at the VFW. If you’re a religious history buff then maybe touring four Oil City churches is your bag.
Saturday is just a full day that stretches well into the night. At 5 p.m. bring a bag for candy and grab a spot along the parade route that starts way up on W. First Street on the south side and ends up across the river on the northside beforeThe Band Hannah opens for the nationally known band, The Clarks, who return for the second year in a row to perform in Justus Park. As the band finishes its set a fireworks display will light the skies.
Williams said there are plenty of reasons to make the trip to Oil City for the festival. “The biggest draws are definitely the music,” she said. Lawyers, Guns and Money are a very popular local band and The Clarks drew a big crowd last year from all over the region. But she really thinks there is so much to do during the week of activities that she doesn’t want to pinpoint anything specific.
“Everything is worth driving miles for,” she said.
For more information visit: https://venangochamber.org/2022-oil-heritage-festival-schedule/