From the Editors: A Summery Summary
Erie is often characterized by its winters. If you live here, though, you know it's our summers that truly define us.
From the outside, Erie is often characterized by its winters. If you live here, though, you know it's our summers that truly define us.
Yes, blinding blizzards and staggering snowfalls make for good storytelling, and there's no doubt that winter-hardiness is part of our collective identity. But those long, hot days surrounding the opposite solstice tend to have a greater role in forming our individual identities — what we're interested in, how we socialize and interact, and who we are in our most natural states without anything in particular to do or anywhere in particular to be. Ask any Erieite about their fondest childhood memories, and there's a high probability they'd be filled with the aromas of fairground funnel cakes and Smith's hot dogs at UPMC Park and the signature dings and "whacky" narrators of the Waldameer concourse, all silhouetted against the brilliant backdrop of a Lake Erie sunset.
Speaking of those, this year marks the centennial of Presque Isle, Erie's preeminent summer playground, as a Pennsylvania state park. Disproportionately blessed with both recreational and ecological opportunities, PI is truly one-of-a-kind — and so long as we continue on with conscientious resource management and stewardship — will always be ours. Jonathan Burdick examines what this milestone means for Erie, and how we can look forward to celebrating PI for centuries to come.
Regardless of how hard we try, though, swim out past the breakers and it will be forever clear to you who's really in charge. If the old journals of lighthouse keepers aren't enough to convince you that Lake Erie is a force to be reckoned with, perhaps diving in to catch a glimpse of the hundreds of shipwrecks strewn across its bottom would be. Matt Swanseger writes about how you can partake in this awe-inspiring experience — and a world of others — by becoming a certified diver right here in the Gem City.
Suddenly feeling hydrophobic? Don't despair — live entertainment is returning in 2021 nearly full-force after 2020's sweeping coronavirus cancellations. A concert-starved Nick Warren is quite eager to share a robust — although not exhaustive (that means there's more than we can print!) — list of events taking place throughout the region this summer. Several familiar favorites are back, including 8 Great Tuesdays, Discover Presque Isle, The Gathering at Chaffee's, The Erie County Fair, and more. With vaccination rates on the way up and mask orders on the way down, the end result should be a much-needed release for those who spent the past year patiently following precautions and protocols — and much better tan lines.
In Erie, summer is who we are and what we're all about. And we have a feeling it's about to be a good one.