By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
SLIPPERY ROCK —
The Appalachian Wagon Train is one step closer to coming through Slippery Rock this June, an undertaking that includes 40 covered wagons and about twice as many horses.
"You're talking at least 100 horses," Deb Anspach, a representative from the group, told borough council members on Tuesday.
Council will vote March 4 on whether the group can stop in Slippery Rock on June 16, especially since they're requesting that Main Street be closed to traffic and parking while the wagon train makes its way to Slippery Rock Community Park, where they'll stop for lunch and welcome visitors to check out their organization.
"You guys have the final say," she said.
The wagon train will be in various parts of the Butler, Lawrence and Mercer County areas June 13 through 22, and they're also planning to stop in Grove City, Anspach said.
They would be in Slippery Rock for a short time, but there are many factors to work out in advance, and the group leaders have already met with the police chief and borough administrator.
"We are approximately a mile-and-a-half long," Anspach said of the wagon train, which includes about 250 people.
The wagon train moves at a speed of 3 miles an hour and "scouts" are stationed at the beginning and end of the line with reflective safety vests and walkie-talkies to help supervise everything, and clean-up crews pick up after the horses. "We are very safe," she said.
Motorists will be allowed to go past the wagon train via one lane of traffic to avoid gridlock, and the group is hoping the borough could provide some patrolmen to help with traffic control.
They'll be spending the night in various places that are big enough for them to spread out, including Moraine State Park, and the public is welcome to visit their encampment each night to learn more about the Appalachian Wagon Train, which Anspach said has been around since 1970 and includes members from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
The group is preparing a guidebook that will detail this year's trek once the exact route is approved and mapped out.
According to the group's website, they first organized to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Somerset County, and their annual, week-long travel -- a different part of the state each year -- raises awareness of historical sites and events that happened in the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania.
Published Feb. 22, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.