Summer Bucket List

Summer in Lancaster County means farm-fresh produce, a bounty of community events, dining alfresco at local restaurants and exploring the county’s many trails and preserves. What follows are ideas for soaking up every moment of summer in Lancaster County. 

1. Enjoy summer music festivals.

The beloved Long’s Park Summer Music Series (longspark.org) will be back every Sunday from June through August. This year’s lineup will include A Night on Broadway with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra on July 17. Music takes over New Holland Community Park (newhollandsummerarts.com) July 4 through September 5. (The Fabulous Greaseband is scheduled for July 20.) Explore a variety of downtown venues during the Lancaster Roots & Blues festival (lancasterrootsandblues.com) on July 9-10. Columbia Animal Shelter’s Summer Concert Series (columbiaanimalshelter.com) offers live music every second Saturday through October. At Nissley Vineyards’ Summerfest (nissleywine.com/summerfest), enjoy live music, wine and food on Fridays and Saturdays from July 8 to August 27. The Cicada Music Festival (originalcicadamusicfestival.com) will feature a variety of musical acts in the Mount Gretna Playhouse, August 8-16. 

2. Take me out to the ball game.

Nothing beats a summer evening in the ballpark. The Lancaster Barnstormers (lancasterbarnstormers.com) have plenty of home games scheduled throughout the season, which ends in September.

3. Protect Lancaster’s streams and rivers.

Lancaster Conservancy’s Water Week (lancasterconservancy.org), June 3-11, celebrates the 1,400 miles of streams and rivers in Lancaster County. Water Week will offer volunteer opportunities, workshops, river paddles, tours and other events at preserves, parks, businesses, churches and other locations across the county. 

4. Cheers to local beer!

Beer lovers can sample local and regional brews at fests such as Mount Hope Brewfest on June 11 (parenfaire.com/brewfest), Ephrata Brewfest (ephratabrewfest.com) on June 25 and Nook Brew Fest (spookynooksports.com) on August 13. The Lititz Craft Beer Fest (lititzcraftbeerfest.com) will be held September 24-25.  

5. Bring the family to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

Enjoy over 50 family-friendly activities, including games, corn mazes, educational exhibits and more. Cherry Crest (cherrycrestfarm.com) will also be holding summer festivals dedicated to Baby Animals (June 11), Cider Donuts (June 18), Sweet Corn (July 16) and Sunflowers (August 20, 27 and September 3). 

6. Taste-test a plant-based diet.

Enjoy delicious vegan food and drinks, fresh produce, vendors, animal sanctuaries, music, yoga and more during Lancaster VegFest (pavegfest.com) on June 4-5 in Buchanan Park. Proceeds benefit the Lancaster Farm Sanctuary. 

7. Support Lancaster’s refugees.

In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, Church World Services Lancaster (cwslancaster.org) will host a concert at Binns Park on June 17 to celebrate the refugees who call Lancaster home. Bring a blanket, grab some take-out from an immigrant- or refugee-owned local restaurant and enjoy a family-friendly night of celebration and music. 

8. Take a walk down memory lane.

On June 18, Columbia Lions’ Thunder on the River Car Show (columbialions.org/carshow) will feature music, food and more than 400 vintage cars along Locust Street between Front and 6th streets. 

9. Attend Open Streets Lancaster.

Hosted by Lancaster Rec on June 19, Open Streets Lancaster (openstreetslnc.org) is an opportunity to get active and involved in the community. During the event, Water Street shuts down from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and temporarily transforms into a pedestrian mall with music, food, shopping and activities promoting wellbeing, civic pride and community connections. 

10. Take a day trip to Philadelphia.

The City of Brotherly Love is just a quick drive or train ride away and is full of culture and events to experience. The Philadelphia Flower Show (phsonline.org) will be held outdoors again this year at FDR Park from June 11-19. The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival (historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival) is returning for the first time in three years. Enjoy performances, Asian cuisine, a beer garden and over 30 larger-than-life, colorful displays in Franklin Square throughout the summer (June 21-August 7). The world premiere of Harry Potter: The Exhibition is on view at the Franklin Institute (tickets are required, visit fi.edu) through September 22. 

11. Celebrate Lancaster!

On June 24, enjoy Lancaster City’s (visitlancastercity.com) largest festival of the year, which features live music, food trucks and fireworks.

12. Stroll through an outdoor art show.

The Lititz Art Association will present the annual Lititz Outdoor Fine Art Show (lititzartassociation.com) in Lititz Springs Park on July 30. From August 20-21, 160 exhibitors will take part in the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show (mtgretnaarts.com) on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua. Wrap-up summer at the Long’s Park Art Festival (longspark.org), where 200 juried exhibitors will be on hand September 2-4 for this show that is regarded as one of the best on the East Coast. Root’s Country Market & Auction will be the site of the annual Heart of Lancaster Arts & Craft Show (hlcshow.com), which is being held September 3-4 and involves 200 juried artists and craftspeople. In addition, the shows offer food and music.

13. Taste the bounty of Lancaster’s farms.

Summer provides us with an abundant harvest of sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash and so much more. There is no shortage of ways to partake, whether you are growing your own vegetables in the backyard, stopping at roadside stands or visiting your local farmers market. 

14. Celebrate Independence Day with the community.

Towns across Lancaster County will be hosting Fourth of July celebrations. On July 1, visit East Petersburg Community Park (eastpetersburgday.com) for their annual Movie in the Park & Fireworks celebration. In Mountville (mountvilleborough.com), Froelich Park will host a fireworks display on July 2. In Marietta (marietta-pa.com), enjoy activities at CBC Church on July 2, including food trucks, a barrel train, yard games and fireworks. Musser Park (musserpark.org) will host a celebration on July 4 that features entertainment, food and family fun. Of course, Lititz (lititz4thofjuly.com) will be continuing their annual festivities with the 205th Fourth of July Celebration on July 1-2. On July 4 in New Holland (newhollandsummerarts.com), the New Holland Band will present a patriotic concert in the park followed by fireworks. 

15. Pick your own flowers.

Add some color to your home with a hand-picked, custom bouquet. Ever Fresh Produce, Inspirational Blossoms (inspirationalblossoms.com) and Country Joy Flowers (countryjoyflowers.com) offer cut-your-own opportunities for a variety of flowers during the summer. Harvest Lane Farm (harvestlanefarmmarket.com) and Masonic Village Farm Market (mvfarmmarket.com) offer cut-your-own sunflowers in late summer. Be sure to check with each location for exact dates and availability.

16. Support your local library and bookstores.

Looking for some new reading material for lounging by the pool or ocean? Sign up for a library card at your local library or buy your books from local stores like Aaron’s Books in Lititz (aaronsbooks.com) and Read Rose Books in Downtown Lancaster (readrosebooks.com).

17. See a show.

Take a break from the heat and enjoy a show from a local theatre. The Fulton Theatre (thefulton.org) will present Jersey Boys from June 28-August 7. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre (dutchapple.com) will offer Great Balls of Fire (June 3-25) and The Little Mermaid (July 1-August 6) this summer. From June 16-25, enjoy The Crucible at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center (ephrataperformingartscenter.com). Prima’s (primatheatre.org) thrilling rock-n-roll tribute concert, The Music of Queen + Journey, is back by popular demand on June 17, 18, 24 and 25.

18. Visit Spooky Nook Farm.

Make a unique summer memory by spending time with llamas, alpacas and Valais Blacknose sheep. You can even take a llama for a walk! Don’t forget to visit Pamela’s She Shed for assorted llama and alpaca fiber products, jewelry, home décor and more. Learn more at spookynookfarm.com.

19. Say goodbye to The Cheeze Brothers and Sisters.

One of Lancaster County’s favorite bands will be disbanding at the end of this year after over 25 years of performing. The Cheeze Brothers and Sisters (cheezebrothers.com) appeals to all ages and performs R&B, Motown and disco/funk from the ’60s through ’80s. Don’t miss your last chance to see them live! The band will be performing at Mountville’s Fourth of July celebration on July 2, Columbia Music in the Park on July 15, Nissley Vineyards’ Summerfest on August 6 and Maytown Music in the Park on August 14. 

20. A Light Show at Longwood Gardens.

Ten years ago, Bruce Munro enchanted visitors to Longwood with his dazzling artistry and stunning light installations. The visionary is back with an all-new show – Light: Installations by Bruce Munro – that will encompass the grounds and conservatory. The show runs June 30 through October 30. Timed tickets required, visit longwoodgardens.org for details.  

21. It’s not summer without ice cream.

In Lancaster County, ice cream is regarded as a vital component of the Food Pyramid’s Dairy Group. The options are seemingly endless and range from old-fashioned soda fountains to farms and all-American drive-ins. FYI: Fox Meadows Creamery’s (foxmeadowscreamery.com) Leola location is slated to open this summer! 

22. Visit a museum.

History abounds in Lancaster County and can be explored at the Ephrata Cloister (ephratacloister.org), 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum (mennonitelife.org), Historic Rock Ford (historicrockford.org), Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (landisvalleymuseum.org), President James Buchanan’s Wheatland (lancasterhistory.org) and many others. For the kids, visit Hands-on House (handsonhouse.org), the Lancaster Science Factory (lancastersciencefactory.org) or the North Museum (northmuseum.org). For art, visit the Demuth Museum or Lancaster Museum of Art (demuth.org) in Downtown Lancaster. Other unique museums include the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (rrmuseumpa.org) and the National Watch and Clock Museum (nawcc.org). 

23. Take a boat tour.

Enjoy an hour-long boat tour on a historic 1912 electric-powered motor launch boat hosted by the Susquehanna National Heritage Area (susqnha.org). You will experience the joy of being out on the water, hear stories about the river and view beautiful scenery and wildlife. Tours are expected to begin in mid-July. Tickets will go on sale June 15 and will cost $20 for adults and $10 for children.

24. Revisit Camelot at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

The museum’s latest exhibit, Jacqueline Kennedy and H.F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House, explores how du Pont, a horticulturist and collector from Delaware, played a key role in Jacqueline Kennedy’s restoration of the White House in the early 1960s. Through artifacts, archives and images, this exhibit invites visitors to experience the behind-the-scenes collaboration between the two during a captivating time in American history. Learn more at winterthur.org.

25. Take your dog to happy hour.

Thanks to the Humane League’s (humanepa.org) Mini Pints for Pups, you can enjoy a brew and treat your best (four-legged) friend to an afternoon of socializing with other pups at breweries throughout Lancaster and Berks counties. Raney Cellars Brewing Company (raneycellarsbrewing.com) in Millersville will host the event on June 25. After that, venues in Berks County take over until October 31, when the event returns to Wacker Brewing Company’s Roadhouse (wackerbrewing.com) in Willow Street. A portion of every sale will support the Humane League of Pennsylvania.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *