Dauphin County to host annual 'Celebrate Wildwood' event on Sept. 29

HARRISBURG, PA (September 24, 2019) – Join Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III, the Friends of Wildwood Park and the county’s Parks and Recreation Department as they host the annual Celebrate Wildwood event and the 20th anniversary of the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center in the park. The free festival, sponsored by WITF and abc27, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wildwood Park, Harrisburg.

“Thanks to Ben Olewine, the Friends of Wildwood, county staff and so many others, Wildwood Park is the premier place in central Pennsylvania for environmental and ecological nature studies, educational opportunities and outdoor recreation,” said Haste, who oversees Dauphin County Parks and Recreation. 

At Celebrate Wildwood, learn about the history of Wildwood and the Olewine Nature Center by checking out the zoo-themed activities and hands-on history-related learning stations.  Throughout the afternoon, educators will demonstrate bird banding and monarch butterfly tagging. Other seasonal activities include pumpkin painting and nature t-shirt making.

“We’ll also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center, which has hosted special exhibits, programs and classes that focus on environmental awareness and preservation,” said Pries.

Live family-oriented entertainment includes musical guests Randy Heisly-Cato and Mark DeRose. Jerry Brown “The Monkey Man” will present his monkey and magic show at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Lake Tobias will present “Wild Wonders” focusing on some of the exotic species from Wildwood Park Zoo’s past at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The festival is free; some activities have a nominal fee.  

The Walk for Wildwood is a half-mile loop around the boardwalk or a 3-mile walk/run around Wildwood Lake to raise funds for the Friends of Wildwood and their Wildwood Park Improvement Project Capital Campaign. Walkers, runners, bird watchers and dog walkers of all ages are all welcome. We encourage participants to make a donation to the Friends of Wildwood. The walk will begin at 1 p.m. 

“Funds raised by the walk will go toward park improvement projects that include a permanent restroom, hydration stations, interpretive signage and trail repairs,” said Hartwick. “For over 100 years, Wildwood Park has been a cherished retreat for nature lovers, and we want to ensure it remains so for centuries to come.”

Wildwood Park is located on Industrial Road, ½ mile north of the Harrisburg Area Community College campus.  The Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center is located in Wildwood Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday. 

For more information about Wildwood Park, please visit www.DauphinCounty.org or call 717-221-0292. Connect with Dauphin County Parks and Recreation at Facebook.com/DauphinCountyParksRecreation and Twitter.com/DauphinParksRec.