Over a century ago Gilbert Pinchot founded the PA Forest Service and served as its first chief. Today the annual Festival of Wood is held at Grey Towers – Pinchot’s ancestral estate. Festival of Wood’s noble mission is to heighten awareness regarding the sustainability of a managed forest. To its credit, the task is achieved with a surprising amount of mirth and merriment. This two day event boasts an impressive array of activities including films, music, lectures and demonstrations. With plenty to do for children and adults, Festival of Wood is as fun as it is educational.
Festival of Wood is hands-on. Lectures and films on alternative forestry practices, cutting lumber, and tree identification run all weekend, while demos like Chainsaw Carving, the portable mizer, and Bluebird Box Building are festival favorites. Even children can get in the fun with activities like the cross-cutting demonstrations. The impressive and extensive array of children’s activities is sure to keep the family busy and happy. A large tent with activities and games includes wooden toys, storytelling and live animal shows. Visits from mascots include the likes of Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl.
Festival of Wood also boasts a large exhibition of wood carvers. Expert artisans show off their wood-working skills in lively demonstrations and sell their unique crafts. Everything from furniture to pipe boxes to sculptures is available to purchase. The Grey Towers mansion is open to the public during the festival – for a small fee – and is highly recommended. Daily music at the amphitheatre includes everything from Celtic to Folk to African drumming to Native American. Music is played on wooden instruments – of course.
Admission is free and parking is free.