Weekend in Erie – Part 2 – Polka, festival and new family

St James Festival - Pizza time

St James Festival - Pony RideIt started with the family going to a polka mass at my old parish, which my mom is still an active member in. I go there maybe once a year because mom likes when we’re all together but she also like to sit up front which is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s cool though because I end up seeing parents of friends and people who still pinch my cheeks and tell me they knew me as a baby. My dad was the head of ushers, my mom was in the choir and my brother and I were both altar boys. Everyone was involved in the parish.

The parish festival was in its final day and part of that tradition is a turkey dinner. Turkey in August? Yeah you might think that’s crazy but the meal is good. REALLY good! We walk around so the kids can play games, dad can play Bingo and while the size of the festival has diminished over the years it really is a stellar place to go. That was until we got to The Fish Pond.

I worked the festival in various roles from grade school until I left for college. You can ask any alumni since the early days and they’ll tell you the same, the fish will die by the time you get them home. I never knew anything about fish. I don’t care about fish. Damn the fis… oh hey son, you want to win a fish? Sure go for it!

$1 for 7 balls so I figured I was safe. Apparently Teaspoon has the beer pong skills of his old man and nailed it. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the feat so I have 1 kid with a fish and 1 without. Know what that means? We’re going to the fish store.

After packing up and saying goodbye to my mom we went to a local pet store to now buy a fish for Cheeseburger and a fish tank. $40 later we leave and head back to Pittsburgh with our new family members.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin and Bob.

Kevin and Bob - The Derda Fish

Here are pics from the rest of the day.

Did you miss out on part 1 of our weekend adventure in Erie? Check out Swimming in greatness!

Weekend in Erie – Part 1 – Swimming in greatness

Teaspoon on the Beach

Growing up in Erie it was always easy to spot the tourists at Presque Isle, they were the only people swimming in the lake. I guess this could be said for any native in a tourist hot spot but going back now with a family I have a new appreciation for the beach.

Feet in the water at Presque IsleLast Saturday I took the family on a quick weekend trip to Erie. If you’re in Pittsburgh the journey up I-79 really is fast. You can be there in 2.5 hours and the drive flies by as you watch the Steel City skyline turn into beautiful country driving, errr just with an interstate running through it.

When I lived in Erie the place to be was Beach 6. This was the home of sand volleyball tournaments, best concession stand on the peninsula and where the good looking people hang out. If you’re a teenager or single person, this is your reality TV show. Married dude in his 30’s with 2 kids, ummm yeeeaaaahhh we scooted down to Beach 7/Water Works a.k.a. the “family beach”.

If you’re a family traveling up there, here is why you’ll love this spot.

  1. Affordable large cabins for rent if you’re having a gathering. We’re talking 50-100 people.
  2. Picnic tables if you want to pack your lunch and hang out plus grills are available.
  3. Excellent fishing spots for the kids.
  4. Playground if they’re done with the swimming/sand thing.
  5. Bike Rental station and hub of anything “touristy” you want to do.
  6. The beach area is rarely crowded, spacious area to set up a tent or umbrella and then lay out in the sun
  7. Plenty of lifeguards on hand for additional peace of mind.
  8. Incredible sunset with Canada off in the distance

This trip was unique for us as the water in the bay was higher than normal and the winds whipping around causing waves close to 4 feet high. The parent in me was “OMFG MY KIDS WILL BE CARRIED OUT TO SEA!” but once I got in the water with them I turned into “WOOOOOOOOO THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME! GET ME A BOOGIE BOARD!”. Both of my kids laughed harder than they ever have as they would either ride the waves or get sucked down shore as the waves crashed.  4 hours later we head to my mom’s for dinner and to hang out.

Sunday would turn out to be a slightly awkward day and you can read about that next…