Fall back into fun

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First Posted: 9/2/2013

Hello sweet sum…wait, what? Summer is already over?

Sadly, it is, and that means that school is back in session. Even though the days following will be spent cracking the books, that doesn’t mean you need to forego the fun. There are plenty of extracurricular activities to do, both on and off camps, around the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre areas, to keep you entertained outside of studying.

Put the Red Bull down – you deserve a break.

Many of the area colleges have the typical athletic teams and group organizations, but many have little gems that you may not have known about. King’s College has a Ski and Snowboard club for those ready to embrace the chilly months, and a club dedicated to Ultimate Frisbee for when the weather breaks.

Wilkes University also has an Ultimate Frisbee club and continues to help those seeking fun physical pursuits through both the Running and Paintball clubs.

Luzerne County Community College has an organization dedicated solely to a sport not often seen around here – fencing. LCCC also has the WSFX Radio Club, which offers students an opportunity to hone their skills through on-air shifts that cater to music, sports, and news reporting opportunities.

Marywood University has something for those interested in varying cultures, such as the Anime and Japanese Culture Club and the Irish Dance Club.

The University of Scranton hosts an Equestrian Team for the horse lovers out there, and, perhaps on the complete other end of the scale, there’s an Urban Beats Hip Hop Dance Team for those who love to get down. Lackawanna College is a great place for writers and actors alike. Off the Vine is the student-run newspaper, and the LC Playas Drama Club offers students the opportunity to perform in theatrical productions throughout the school year.

Misericordia University has the SOAR Program, the Student Outdoor Adventure & Recreation Program for those who are in no way content with sitting around in their dorm room. There’s also the Chamber Singers, a select chorus that performs throughout the year at the university.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre offers the Astro Society for the stargazers out there, and the Lazy Artists’ Society/Radio Club, which aims to inspire and further Penn State students in their artistic ventures.

Penn State Worthington is big on giving back with the Community Services Club and, perhaps in what may be the strangest college organization we’ve seen around here (and yet the most awesome), there’s a Paranormal Club.

Who said college is a drag?

All’s fair in NEPA

We’ve got a ton of traditions here in Northeast Pennsylvania, and two of the biggest are coming up soon.

– Can you believe it’s been 158 years since the Bloomsburg Fair began? That’s nearly 16 decades of dazzling entertainment, educational shows, top-notch competitions, and food – oh, we can’t forget the food. The Bloomsburg Fair can also be called the land of “if you can name it, we’ve probably fried it.”

As you can see by the expansive schedule on bloomsburgfair.com, there’s a little something for everyone from Sept. 20 through the 28. Here’s a quick glance into it.

Grandstand concerts:

Lee Greenwood: Sept. 20, 8 p.m.

Hunter Hayes: Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Casting Crows: Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Three Days Grace/Finger Eleven: Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.

Halestorm: Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Scotty McCreery: Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.

Austin Mahone/Coco Jones: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.

Justin Moore: Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Other events:

Horse racing, truck and tractor pull, helicopter rides, Demo Car Derby, Double Figure 8 Racing, the High Flying Pages Aerial & Animal Thrill Show, and much more.

– Another local fair hasn’t been around quite as many years as Bloomsburg’s, but it is marking a milestone. The 50th Annual Luzerne County Fair will take place from Sept. 4 through Sept. 8.

A full guide is available at luzernecountyfair.com.

Entertainment schedule:

Tommy Guns: Sept. 4, 6-7 p.m.

The Kentucky Headhunters: Sept. 4, 7:30-9 p.m.

The Poets: Sept. 5, 6-7:30 p.m.

That 90s Band: Sept. 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The Badlees: Sept. 6, 8-10 p.m.

Shawn Klush with the Sweet Inspirations: Sept. 7, 6:30-8 p.m.

Keystone Kids: Sept. 8, 5-6:30 p.m.

Rick K and the All Nighters: Sept. 8, 6:30-8 p.m.

– If you’re up for a bit of a road trip, it would be quite the experience to slip into a land of another time at the 33rd Annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, which runs through Oct. 27 at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery. 16th century England awaits you! And, yes, you can totally stop at the winery before you leave and buy some booze. Tickets are $29.95 for adults. For more info and tickets, visit parenfaire.com or call the box office at 717.665.7021.

Miscellaneous entertainment

There are plenty of other things the area has to offer, and on any given night.

Party on the Square: The popular Wilkes-Barre-centric party is back and will take place Oct. 18, with plenty of dancing and entertainment guaranteed.

The Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) has some great programs if you’re looking to have a hilarious night out. Bad Movie Thursdays with Mystery Science Theater 3000 plays from 7 to 9 p.m. on select Thursdays, and the Up and Coming Comedy Series is Sept. 28, Oct. 19, and Nov. 16 from 8 to 10 p.m.

– While many of the colleges in the area have spectacular theater groups, there are also some local organizations worth checking out, such as Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre (537 North Main St., 570.823.1875), Music Box Players (196 Hughes St., Swoyersville, 570.283.2195, 800.698.PLAY or musicbox.org), the Phoenix Performing Arts Centre (409-411 Main St., Duryea, 570.457.3589, phoenixpac.vpweb.com) and Theatre at the Grove (5177 Nuangola Rd., Nuangola, 570.868.8212, nuangolagrove.com).

Music mania

Not only are we fortunate enough to have truckloads of musical talent actually in NEPA, we’ve also got venues that bring in top entertainers from all over the country, and this fall will be no exception.

Culture Shock 2013: Sept. 7, noon- 9p.m., Nay Aug Park, Scranton. Featuring Aayu, A Fire With Friends, Ed Cuozzo, Down to Six, Jeri Bennett, Nelson, and more. Free.

F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, 570.826.1100, kirbycenter.org)

Alice Cooper: Oct. 18, 8 p.m.

Cyndi Lauper: Oct. 22, 8 p.m.

Elvis Costello: Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Brews Brothers West (75 Main St., Luzerne, 570.283.1300, brewsbrothersbar.com/brewsbrotherswest)

Jackyl: Sept. 13, 8 p.m.

River Street Jazz Café (667 N. River St., Plains Township, 570.822.2992, riverstreetjazzcafe.com)

I Am Buffalo/Doghouse Charlie Band: Sept. 5, 9 p.m.

Popa Chubby: Sept. 6, 10 p.m.

Flux Capacitor: Sept. 19, 10 p.m.

Clarence Spady All Star Band: Prince Tribute: Sept. 21, 10 p.m.

Wham Bam Bowie Band: Sept. 28, 10 p.m.

The Manhattan Project/Horizon Wireless: Oct. 5, 10 p.m.

Back on the bar scene

OK, let’s face it: a really exciting part about going back to school is having plenty of bars to choose from. This area in no way falls short with having a great selection.

The River Street Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains Township, riverstreetjazzcafe.com) is an intimate venue that brings in awesome music acts and has great drink specials. All night, every night there’s a $2 bottle special and daily happy hours that include $3 well mixers from 8 to 10 p.m. and $1.50 pints of Miller Lite and Yuengling Lager from 10 p.m. to midnight. There’s a $5 food menu every Wednesday and Thursday, and on Thursday there is buy one, get one admission as well as $1 Lionshead bottles all night.

River Grille (670 N. River St., Plains Township, rivergrillenepa.com) is the perfect place to cure the Sunday blues with the only Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar in the valley, open from 11:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. Thirsty Thursday offers $5 32 oz. rum buckets.

Rodano’s (53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, rodanos.com) offers a ton of space to dance if you’re looking to work up a sweat, as well as two bars to quench your thirst at, which includes an enormous selection of vodka. There’s also newly added outdoor seating to check out before it gets chilly.

Beer Boys (176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, beerboys2nite.net) offers an award-winning half-off happy hour every Wednesday from 9 to 11 p.m. and every Thursday through Sunday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Every Wednesday and Sunday, the bar features a brewery, which includes a free glass along with the draft feature (upcoming brews include Straub IPL or Maibock and SBC Oktoberfest or Pumpkin). Beer Boys is a good place for those who enjoy a good craft brew or are just looking to try something new and unique, with 72 beers on tap and new beers coming in all the time.

The Woodlands Inn (1073 Highway 315, woodlandsresort.com) has plenty to offer, from the SKYY Vu Deck Bar, which offers a stunning view, to Evolution Night Club, where the hottest tunes are always playing.

Bart & Urby’s (119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, bartandurby.com) offers a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 p.m. Friday, and 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. There’s also a Wings and Yuengs Night and live entertainment every weekend.

Bottlenecks Saloon and Eatery (3 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, bottleneckssaloon.com) is one of the newer watering holes downtown, and it doesn’t disappoint. Each night there’s something going on, from the all-you-can-eat wing night on Tuesdays, to Whacky Wheel Trivia and Build Your Own Burger night on Wednesdays. There’s a live band almost every Friday and Saturday night and cash prizes during NFL games on both Sunday and Monday. The kicker? There’s a self-serve draft beer bar for all to enjoy.

Joe K’s Brew House (41 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, downtownafterdark.com) is also a newer establishment, one that offers cornhole competitions on Wednesdays, turtle races on Fridays, and beer pong tournaments on Saturdays, all of which have $100 prizes.

Avanti (111 Main St., Wilkes-Barre) has an outside patio with plenty of seating and offers up some of the finest in Italian dishes, as well as a great beer selection.

Senunas’ Bar and Grill (133 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) has been a “Best College Bar” winner in Weekender polls for several years in a row now. There are different food specials nightly and happy hours that run Monday through Wednesday, 9 to 11 p.m., Thursday 10 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday 9 p.m. to midnight. Happy hours include a $5 shot and draft combo, $4 Long Islands, $3 Jager bombs, $2 vodka bombs, and much more. Plus, at this establishment that’s been a part of the King’s College community since 1959, there are $5 Senunas’ Shakers all the time, and who doesn’t want to drink out of a mason jar?

What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming school year?

“New experiences.” -Effy Leenheer, 19, Sussex, N.J.

“Meeting new people.” -Gabby Vaxmonsky, 19, Pittston

“Learning new things.” -Regan Parshall, 19, Athens, Pa.

“Lack of sleep from architecture.” -Hunter Bassitt, 19, Newtown, Conn.

“Getting more experience in my field.” -Justin Wahy, 19, Childs, Pa.

“Doing well in school and being around good people.” -Derek Dunstone, 21, Peckville