Zane Grey Festival celebrates an American author's passions

Free festival includes fishing derby and boat building along with music and food

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  • Young visitors learning carpentry skills at last year's Zane Grey Festival (Photo provided)

  • Zane Grey and his children, Romer, Loren and Betty, in Lackawaxen ca. 1916.

— The 10th annual Zane Grey Festival is being offered free of charge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at the Zane Grey Museum, located at 135 Scenic Drive in Lackawaxen.

The Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers are what initially drew Zane Grey to the area. They fulfilled his love for fishing and the outdoors and inspired him to write some of his most famous books, right on the banks of the Upper Delaware. Zane and his brother Romer would eventually settle in Lackawaxen, and Grey called the area home from 1905 to 1918. Museum exhibits give visitors a better understanding of the life and writing of the famed western author. His office and study have been meticulously recreated based on an interior photograph by famed local photographer Louis Hensel.

Many activities and events for children and adults will be offered at the festival, sponsored by the National Park Service and Zane Grey’s West Society.

Scavenger hunt — Kids can take part in a scavenger hunt to receive a free book. By visiting exhibitors, children will learn about the area’s natural and cultural history while finding answers to trivia questions. The children’s books were donated by the Boyds Mill Press in Honesdale.

Music — The Steamtown Ramblers will perform songs of the railroad with several cowboy ditties thrown in to put everyone in a Wild, Wild, West mood. Opera singer Carol Diefenbach of the Delaware Valley Opera in Narrowsburg, N.Y., will be performing several songs written by Academy Award winning local composer E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. Harburg was a dynamic lyricist who wrote for popular films and musicals such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "New Americana." Pull up a chair and listen to Diefenbach perform "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

The Cowboy Dentist — Doc Miller, also known as the “Cowboy Dentist” will interpret in full regalia what it was like to work out on a Western range, while captivating children and adults with his stories about cowboys. Do you know why cowboys wear bandanas? Come and find out this and other amazing facts about phrases, clothing, and tools used by cowboys that we take for granted today. Along with learning about the west that Zane Grey wrote about, Doc Miller will entertain all ages with his magic tricks.

History — Melissa Grey Jones will talk about her great grandfather’s novel “Betty Zane” and how her ancestor’s story influenced this work. Volunteer Barb Hare will lead a guided walk through Grey’s property and talk about what life was like for the Grey family in the 1900s in this small hamlet.

Boat building — Have you ever wanted to build a boat with a single sheet of plywood in an hour? Join retired professor Robert Dalley from Western Carolina University’s Engineering and Technology Department in building a full-sized boat. Professor Dalley is an award-winning boat designer and builder who uses a stressed frameless construction system to assemble a bateau that has been featured in the short film “Less than Eight Feet, Messing About in Boats” at the Georgetown Wooden Boat Festival in Georgetown, S.C.

Fishing — Winners of the “Zane Grey Catch and Release Fishing Derby” will be announced during this year’s festival. Zane Grey loved to fish the waters of the Delaware and many of the smaller tributaries that flowed into this great river. For more information visit

Environment — Area environmental groups and historical societies will display exhibits about their organizations, many of which will have hands-on activities for children. Other activities include trying your hand at roping cattle like famed cowboy Buffalo Jones, learning how to cast a fishing rod, and water safety.

Food — The Lackawaxen Fire Company will also be cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs along with all the fixins during the festival, so plan on staying for the afternoon or all day.

For more information about the festival call 570-685-4871.

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