27 Jul The Zane Grey Festival
A fascinating part of the summer so far has been the Zane Grey festival. This annual festival is hosted by the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River in conjunction with the Zane Grey’s West Society (ZGWS).
ZGWS is an organization that promotes awareness of Zane Grey and his works. Which brings me to an important point: who is Zane Grey?
Zane Grey was a man of many trades but is primarily known for his work as an author. His writing was influential in the development of the Western genre. This essentially created the genre of the “old west” or “wild west.” His literary works were also vastly influential in the developing movie industry. 112 films have been adapted from Grey’s novels, and many more were inspired by the themes he imagined.
The Zane Grey Museum is located in the Lackawaxen township and is right on the shore of one of the NPS river access sites. The Zane Grey House is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, just near Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct.
The house was built in 1905, the same year that Zane Grey quit dentistry to be a writer. Zane Grey died in 1939, and his wife sold the Lackawaxen house to Helen James, daughter of Alvah James, who was a friend of Zane Grey. In 1948 the house was operated as an Inn until Helen converted it into a museum. She and her husband ran this museum until 1989 when it was sold to the National Park Service.
Now that I’ve settled the background information you need, I’d like to tell you about the festival. We all came together for days of preparation. We gathered our ideas for booths and activities, then worked outside to set up a bunch of canopies, tables, and chairs, and even toiled for hours over a speaker and mic system.
It was very worth it in the end. I was happy to see so many people come out for the festival, and it was lovely to see the familiar faces of people I’ve interacted with previously in the summer. I saw a few different kids I had visited at their camp to deliver my interpretive program and some adults I had seen when they visited the river or showed up at the museum.
I ran the arts and crafts stand, where we decorated canvas bags with fabric markers, buttons, and stencils. My favorite part was the Buffalo Jones showcase, with one of our seasonal rangers dressed up in the old-school cowboy getup, lasso-ing a stuffed Bison.