Legend of the Magic Water
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Among the various acts of this educational and entertaining pageant are an Indian maple celebration, the life of the pioneer, the day the first train came to Meyersdale and the first Festival.
The pageant has something for everyone - from an Indian attack to a hoedown, a simple hymn to classic opera, can-can girls to a patriotic grand finale. There are duos, trios, men's and women's choruses and some of the cutest little show-stoppers around.
To many of our visitors, The Legend of the Magic Water is a must-see – returning year after year for this production from a community of about 2,300 people.
The Legend in its present form was started in 1971 through the efforts of Tess Rigal, who was serving as the Festival's executive secretary, and James Davis, choral director at Meyersdale Area High School. However, its beginnings go back to the very first festival in 1947.
For four years at the State Theater, area talent was showcased in the “Annual Historical Pageant of the Somerset County Maple Festival“.
Meyersdale Area High School Auditorium
1349 Shaw Mines Rd., Meyersdale, PA
Organized and directed by local school teachers Miss Anna Bolden and Mrs. Ralph (Ruth) Rosenberger, this pageant dealt primarily with the history of Somerset County. Not only was the cast comprised of citizens from Meyersdale, but also other local communities as well. Each of the communities was responsible for an episode, while county schools sent their best musicians to play in the orchestra.
The pageant was replaced in the early 1950's by a talent show of local school students and adults. It, too, was held at the State Theater and was titled, “The Mapletown Variety Show,” or "Saptown Slapstick." In 1958, the Maple Queen and princesses shared the stage with area residents in “Maple Sugarin' Time -- a Fun Historical Show in Four Acts.“ The following year, and until 1970, only the queen and princesses took center stage, displaying their talent numbers from the Maple Queen contest.
And so, with the re-establishment of a historical pageant in 1971, we have come full circle. Children and grandchildren of those early cast members are now the ones doing the entertaining, carrying on the fine tradition of community involvement for which Meyersdale is noted and honored.
Lions Pancake Shack
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The special way the Lions select foods and ingredients and the way they prepare their foods help make eating at the pancake house memorable. Throughout the years one million dollars has been raised from the pancakes and sausage project. All the proceeds of this fundraising venture has been returned to the community to purchase supplies from local business and to support many community organizations.
Currently the Lions are focused on two main projects: the improvement of the T.G. Saylor Community Center and the continuing management of scenic Maple Valley Park
If you get a chance while you're eating, look around the gymnasium where the meal is served. The Lions have recently put hundreds of hours of volunteer time and thousands of dollars into improving this facility. This is just one of many examples of how involved the Lions are in the local community.
215 Main Street at Grant Street- T.G. Saylor Community Center.
So the Sport of Horse pulling is exactly THAT. It is a sport with a team of equine athletes. The work that goes into them to get ready for competition is endless.
The best horses in competition are worked every day to keep their muscles and tendons in great shape to pull heavy loads. They are no different than a weight lifter or football player getting ready for their given sport. Some folks that do not understand the sport think a horse pulling weighted loads is harmful to them. Only in a marathon would a horses heart rate and blood volume be highly affected. Ask any veterinarian! These draft animals are bred for their strength and agility to pull heavy loads. For these short distances over which they pull does not raise heart level or blood volume levels enough to affect them. They are so proud of themselves when they complete a pull. Watch them strut their stuff when they are unhitched.
Along with this work the ration of feeding is quite important. Certainly oats are fed for energy and along with oats comes vitamins and minerals for stamina. Oh, yes, you must keep a good supply of hay on hand. A combination of hay with alfalfa for protein is best and is to be fed at least twice a day.
The majority of pulling horses have clipped manes and most horse pullers seem to like the clipped legs, ears and hair around the muzzle for cleanliness.
Somerset County Fairgrounds
7842 Mt. Davis Rd., Meyersdale, PA
The fitting of the collar, harness and bridle take quite some time. You cannot just put on any horses gear on another horse. The collar and pads need to be fit properly so as to NOT make the shoulders sore. Even after you think the equipment fits properly and you pull your horse in a collar, it may need to be changed because it may be too short or it may tip on him. Each horse is built different and their necks can wear different sized collars in their own way.
So now that you have figured out the science on fitting a collar, the harness and bridle get fit up as well. There is an adjustment at the hames for where the draft will set. Just believe that this can get changed periodically too. Even the belly band may be too tight and if a horse does not like that pressure, he will perform differently.
The eveners are another scientific feat. There are holes in the doubletree on each horses side to be able to set a stouter horse in to pull a bit more than his partner and you can change it on every load if you need to. There are also swinging hooks or stiff hooks and without trying a little of everything, the teamster really does not know what his team will pull best with. Trial and error are the best resources. And when they get it all figured out, it is time to go pulling!
Ah, yes, the sport itself brings together good friends and family. We look forward to meeting new faces each pulling season and seeing faces we have not seen for a while. There are always good friends with whom to mingle.