LakeFest celebrates 50th anniversary of Harveys Lake Borough

By Gene Axton - For Dallas Post
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HARVEYS LAKE — For Mayor Carole Samson, the benefits of running a borough are freedom and autonomy.

“You’re trying to make decisions that are best for the benefit of the borough, to make sure that it is a good place to live, that everything goes well for it,” Samson said. “That’s your responsibility; you can’t throw it off on someone else.”

The citizens of Harveys Lake celebrated the 50th anniversary of their community separating from Lake Township and Lehman Township to form Harveys Lake Borough at this year’s LakeFest Aug. 5. The anniversary was commemorated with a parade featuring local first responders who traveled around the lake and ended at Harveys Lake Beach Club — the site of LakeFest, a weekend-long event that came to a conclusion following Sunday’s festivities.

Post-parade, local dignitaries spoke to the beach club crowd. Harveys Lake Recreation Committee Chairman Mike Rush read from a citation issued by the office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, while Harveys Lake resident and Pennsylvania State Representative Karen Boback issued a citation marking the event.

“It gives me great honor to be here today as a resident of this beautiful, beautiful lake, and I also have the opportunity to present to our council today a state citation from the House of Representatives honoring the lake and the 50th year of the borough,” Boback said.

Along with the citations, which are on display at Harveys Lake Borough Hall, Vice President of Borough Council Daniel Blaine introduced a guest book and intends to collect signatures of borough residents and friends. The initial signature was that Blaine’s cousin Fran Fisher, the first-ever president of the Harveys Lake Borough Council.

“Fifty years ago, when the knock on my door came from the tax collector that was in Lake Township and he asked me if I’d consider running for office, I quickly said, ‘No,’” Fisher, 86, said. “He stayed around; I gave him something to drink and I thought we’d at least talk. He finally got me to the point I’d agree to run for office.”

Fisher said he’s proud the first council put a sewer authority high on its to-do list, adding he doesn’t believe the lake could handle its population or businesses without it. Thanks to his cousin, that population and its businesses will have a chance to participate in the 100th anniversary of Harveys Lake through a time capsule Blaine plans to bury outside Harveys Lake Police Department in November.

“We’re collecting memorabilia from around the lake. For instance, Grotto Pizza, we’re going to get a shirt from them and a menu and maybe they’ll want to write something about their establishment and we’ll put that in there,” Blaine said. “All the organizations and people have been coming up to me with pictures and various things and we’re going to put them in the time capsule and bury it.”

For life-long resident Rich Boice, 71, his memories of Harveys Lake are the time capsule. He described Sandy Beach — now Harveys Lake Beach Club — as a bustling public recreation area with a movie theater down the road and nearby Hanson’s Amusement Park hosting dances featuring celebrities like Chuck Berry.

“I was just a teenager when Hanson’s was booming and all the stars were coming out here,” Boice said. “It’s a big difference from, say, 30 years ago and now here at the lake. The lake is basically privatized.”

Boice said he misses when the lake was more accommodating to the public, but he’s still an active member of the community. He attends LakeFest every year because proceeds support the recreational committee’s programs for children, and he takes pride in his and his neighbors’ shared wonder.

“The lake’s the draw; that’s why I like to live here,” Boice said.

Boice may remember a different Harveys Lake, but that sentiment, given during the borough’s 50-year anniversary celebration, may still ring true with residents when its time capsule is unearthed and it’s aged to 100.

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By Gene Axton

For Dallas Post

Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.

Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.