Jul 28, 2023

Historic Joanna Furnace near Morgantown hosts 47th Annual Hay Creek Festival Sept. 8 to 10

Festival-goers will witness a day in the life of the 19th-century Joanna Furnace community during the 47th Annual Hay Creek Festival from Sept. 8-10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Held on the grounds of the historic Joanna Furnace Ironworks, an 18th- and 19th-century charcoal-fueled iron furnace and community in Robeson Township, visitors travel through time and experience life in a rural industrial iron-making village. The interpretation timeline runs from the beginning of the furnace in 1791 up to the 1950s.

Exhibits and demonstrations include traditional early American crafts, a contemporary craft market, living history presentations and interpretations, vintage Industrial Revolution era working equipment, threshing demonstrations, a working sawmill, children’s hands-on activities, a traditional four-square kitchen herb garden, Civil War and World War II encampments, antique vehicles, steam engines and tractors, traditional folk music presentations, and homemade festive foods.

Served by Hay Creek volunteers and community nonprofit organizations, food includes chicken potpie, hamburgers, hot dogs, turkey and roast beef sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, festival-favorite Mabel’s open-fire cooked soups, breads, hand-dipped ice cream, funnel cakes, french fries, fresh baked goods and the festival’s homemade corn pie and stuffed bell peppers. Freshly pressed apple cider will be made daily in the Joanna Furnace cider mill. Many of the festival foods are available to purchase to take home. The food market will offer craft beer for sale.

The Early American Crafts area includes domestic and village industry demonstrations of skills necessary for a self-sustaining rural industrial community through the 18th and 19th centuries. Open-fire cooking, bake oven demonstrations and butter and sauerkraut making will take place throughout the weekend. Samples will be available.

This year’s Creekside Craft Market includes redware and stoneware pottery, quilted items, jewelry, woodcrafts and ironwork. Rebel Hive Meadery of West Reading will be selling its honey wine.

In the Mechanical Technology area, see early gas and steam engines, models, antique cars and tractors, sawmill and threshing demonstrations and a line shaft powering 100-year-old industrial machinery in the Joanna Furnace Mechanical Technology Building. A World War II encampment will be featured in this area.

The Civil War Encampment shows how soldiers lived and trained in the mid-19th century. Reenactors will also offer a mini skirmish each day.

Visitors may tour the 18th- & 19th-century ironmaking complex. Hay Creek interpreters will give presentations and demonstrations in the Blacksmith Shop, Wheelwright Shop, Office/Store, Charcoal Storage Barn & Museum and the Casting House. A 22-minute introductory video on the History of Joanna Furnace will take place each hour in the Blowing Engine House.

Hay Creek’s Tri-County Heritage Library exhibits a vast collection from the estate of Dr. Florence Williams of West Chester in the Joanna Furnace Mule Stable. History books and maps will be available for sale.

“Flo” who passed away in 2014, was a lifelong learner and educator. She immersed herself in the role of women in the Civil War, adopting the living history persona of “Miss Flora.” Flo also accumulated more than 40 spinning wheels. She learned how to use them and became involved in demonstrating the early American craft of spinning and dyeing wool. Her demonstrations included donning period dress and teaching others about spinning and its role in Colonial America.

The display will include Flo’s walking wheel, period garb, a collection of 1850s-1860s Godeys & Paterson women’s books, and personal artifacts used with her 97th Pennsylvania Infantry impression. This includes the Ladies Sanitary Commission and Ladies Auxiliary to the GAR.

Friday, Sept. 8 is Student Day at the Hay Creek Festival. Public and private schools, home-school groups and co-ops are invited to participate. A Student Day registration form can be downloaded from the festival website at

Children’s activities throughout the weekend include archaeological segments, candle and papermaking, early American games and Civil War marching and drilling. Pick up a chores list at the festival gate for hands-on activities. Upon completion of a variety of tasks, children will be rewarded with a free wagon ride.

Admission is $10 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and younger.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association’s Joanna Furnace site is located 3 miles north of Morgantown on Route 10.

Parking is free on the festival grounds on Friday. Free continuously running shuttle buses will be provided from an offsite parking area from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For the safety of visitors, all are encouraged to park safely on the easy-access lots just off Route 10.

For more information, visit

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