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Van Wyck gears up for annual family-friendly festival

VAN WYCK For 16 years, the Celebrate Van Wyck festival has brought together music lovers and car enthusiasts, master crafters and delicious food vendors, and people ages 1 to 101. This year, the family-focused festival is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Hinson Girls of Lancaster are set to play live bluegrass tunes. And back this year is the car show by Memory Lane Cruisers, which has entries ranging from classics to customs to tractors.

Celebrate Van Wyck is an annual highlight for the small Lancaster County community that sits between U.S. Routes 521 and 5.

The festival is held on the shaded grounds of the Community Center at 5036 Old Hickory Road and is organized by the Van Wyck Community Development Club.

“Celebrate Van Wyck is the community coming together and having a good time, and sharing the fun with anyone who wants to come and have fun with us,” said Jane Massey, club president and longtime Van Wyck resident.

The club gears the festival to families and children, most of whom find joy in the large range of games and activities, as well as the Van Wyck Express Train that circles the area. Unlimited activity bracelets are $5 per child.

The Van Wyck Mining Co. also has gems to mine for a small fee. Pony rides are also advertised.

Organizers expect the music of the Hinson Girls to be a big draw. The local girls – Katelyn, 14; twins, Melissa and Allison, 16; and Kristin, 19 – are sisters who have been performing bluegrass gospel music together since 2009.

They will have morning and afternoon performances.

Van Wyck native Betty Broome manages the “Take Home a Treasure” yard sale, where the club sells donated items; she loves the festival for its shopping, music and food.

“It’s a special day,” said Broome. “People enjoy (the) festival. Celebrate Van Wyck seems to be a favorite. There is something for everyone, every age.”

She appreciated that many vendors sell handcrafted items, including jewelry, baskets and candles.

Broome gets to see her neighbors, family and friends – as well as former residents who come back to the community just for the fellowship of the festival. Broome is looking forward to trying Craig Denton’s Sweet Daddy’s Barbecue.

It is Denton’s first time cooking for the festival, though he is well-known for his culinary skills. The Van Wyck resident’s menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, smoked turkey legs and boiled peanuts.