PORTERSVILLE – While it only takes about five minutes to drive to Moraine State Park, Cinnamon Hainley rarely benefits from having a 16,725-acre park that has a lake and 42 miles of shoreline in its stereoscopic backyard.
But this weekend is different, because she and her 8-year-old son, Steele Heinley, will be spending time there at the annual Moraine State Park Regatta.
The regatta has a number of free activities showcasing the park’s centerpiece in the 3,225-acre Lake Arthur, but Hainley spent time Friday putting together wooden building kits with her son and trying out food in the park, in anticipation of their favorite Saturday night event—the fireworks.
“This is our favorite thing to come here,” said Cinnamon Henley of Prospect. “And who doesn’t love fireworks? I love fireworks.”
Moraine’s South Beach is open all day all weekend for regattas and will feature vendors selling foods, crafts, and more, as well as organizations offering family-friendly activities for the event.
Some of the activities include tours of Lake Arthur on a Moraine Preservation Fund pontoon boat, Preston’s Pearl; Paddle boarding and kayaking. and building kits made by Hainleys.
Amanda Baker, owner and planner of Appleseed Events, said organizers expect Saturday and Sunday to be busy with visitors.
“Expect big crowds,” she said. “They will start coming in for the 5 km race tomorrow and the regatta. And the fireworks are always a big draw.”
The lake had to be cleaned Friday night for some time due to bad weather, which Baker said staff are monitoring to maintain safety at the regatta. Despite the ever-present possibility of weather delaying activities, Baker said many regatta attendees still stuck to it in the park.
“We’re either raining or sunny,” Baker said.
Baker also said she is looking forward to the kids’ activities planned for this year’s regatta, because they were scaled back last year.
The wooden building kits are under a tent near the water, and Jo Annette Sinkar, a flooring specialist at Home Depot, said they can be fun for all ages.
“Kids can come to build one of the tools and take it home,” Senkar said. “What we’ve been working on is trying to build all of them so people know what we have.”
Sophia Moen, 8, and Ellie Mowen, 7, both Martians, were hanging out in a specialized outdoor tent, where Ross Cawthorne had plenty of animal skins they could try to identify.
Their grandparents, George and Anita Long, of Cranberry, said they thought regatta would be a good weekend activity for the family.
“We saw there was a lot of kids activities, so we decided to come in,” said Anita Long.
Although water activities were suspended on Friday evening, employees of the outdoor store Public Lands were willing to loan paddleboards and kayaks once the weather improved.
Alan Hogg, climbing wall assistant at Public Lands, said Regatta is a good time for people to try kayaking or paddle boarding, because the materials are free to use and staff can advise on using them.
Kayaking has always been popular, he said, but paddle boarding has been gaining popularity in recent years.
“There is time for both,” Hough said. “A good number of people do paddle boarding, because it’s a more full-body workout. Kayaking is a little easier, but if you fall, it’s easier to get back on a paddleboard.”
A schedule of activities for Saturday and Sunday can be found online at morainestateparkregatta.org.
Baker said she believes anyone can find something to enjoy in regattas.
“We try to accommodate as many people as possible,” she said. “It’s a good way for people to try out activities they’ve never done before.”
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