PIKE COUNTY, Pa. — Over the weekend, folks were happy to be back at the annual Wally Lake Fest at Lake Wallenpaupack.
It was yet another of many events canceled last year due to the pandemic, and even though it wasn't the sunniest of weekends, that didn't stop the people from celebrating.
For visitors and vendors alike, Wally Lake Fest is a special celebration.
Anthony Muniz is from Middletown, NJ, but his family owns a lake house in the area.
"Wally Fest is a great party out on the water,” Muniz said.
Elsa Attieh, 10, says her family came from Bethlehem for the weekend.
"There's lots of good food, and there's good stuff to look at,” she said.
Valerie Ingram, a vendor at the fair who co-owns Blended Jewelry & Crafts, says the Wally Lake Fest has a more diverse selection of items to buy.
"I end up walking through and finding so many things,” Ingram said.
With that, plenty of food choices and boats -- on and off the lake -- organizers say the fest on Lake Wallenpaupack, now in its 11th year, is an end-of-the-summer thank you to the whole community and its guests.
"This is just a celebration of the lake life,” Debbie Gillette, chief operating officer of The Chamber of the Northern Poconos, said.
Gillette says overall, the number of people in the region for the weekend is very similar to what it’s been in years past – even despite the gloomier weather.
"I think it's a little bit slower this year, only because the weather has somewhat deterred people, but our numbers out on the lake, the number of boats that were out there tied up listening to the concert, seemed to be about the same,” Gillette said.
Mike DeStefano co-owns Ghiggeri’s Fine Olive Oils & Balsamics. In his section of the vendor fair, the money he and other vendors paid to set up shop will go right to the Victim’s Intervention Program in Wayne and Pike counties.
DeStefano says it's a cause he's personally glad to contribute to.
"We never know,” he said. “We always try to do what we can for everyone. And you always wish you took a little more time; it's great for the community, generates a lot of income, which we all need a little help after COVID."
The fest is just another fun event back, after the pandemic’s hiatus last year.
“It feels fantastic to be back after COVID,” Ingram said.
"Last year kind of sucked with all the COVID stuff, but you could tell this year's packed, and everybody's happy to be back,” Muniz said.
"It's just great to see people out and about in the Northern Pocono Mountains again,” Gillette said. That's what we're all about."
The festival ends Sunday evening. To view the rest of the events, head here.