Summer, Time for Fun, Sun and Food

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 by:  Joella Baker

I love summer.  It’s easily my favorite time of the year.  Probably because it’s warm and I simply don’t enjoy being cold.  However, there are so many other reasons why I love this time of year.  I love being outside and I find it so much easier to be outside in the summer time.  If you simply walk out your front door, the opportunities to get fit and in shape are endless.  This summer, travel north a few miles and enjoy a few of my Butler County favorites. 

For me, summer is all about swimming, cycling, running, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, playing games with the kids and just hanging out.  There is so much to do throughout the summer and you don’t have to go far to do it.

My favorite summer hangouts include Moraine State Park.  You can do so much at this treasure of Butler County.  From hiking, the endless trails, to swimming in Lake Arthur, you have so many possibilities to get out and stay in shape this summer.  I love to bike at Moraine, on the trail with my son Zachary or on the roads with my friends for a more serious workout. 

Another favorite is Zelienople Community Park is just North of Cranberry Township, this small park also has hiking and running trails, a great community pool, tennis courts, basketball, new pickle ball courts and more.  It’s easy to have fun at this park and it’s so close.  They also host my favorite July 4th Celebration.  This year, you can enjoy a 5K Run and Walk at 8:00 AM, The Firecracker 5K.  Following the run, enjoy the 4th of July Parade, hosted by the Zelienople Rotary Club and then head to the Zelienople Community Park for music, food and fun activities.  All of this takes place on the 4th of July and at the end of the day, find any place in town to enjoy the great Fireworks display.

Speaking of great community events, one of my all-time favorites is Horse Trading Days in Zelienople.  This year Horse Trading Days is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.  Taking place July 18, 19 and 20, enjoy great music, food and sidewalk sales from local establishments, games and events for kids.  You don’t want to miss Horse Trading Days this year, so get out to Zelienople and celebrate.

When I think about summer food, I don’t think about the food you get from all the local fairs and events.  Instead I think about the fresh fruits and vegetables that abound.  One of my favorite things about summer is the Community Supported Agriculture Programs.  I belong to the program at Glade Run Gardens in Zelienople.  It’s great!  Every Thursday, I pick-up my fresh share of organically grown fruits and veggies.  They send out an email telling us what we’re getting that week and even share recipes about how to use some of those unique foods you may not have tried before.  However, I try not to read what I’m getting.  For me, part of the fun is the enjoying the surprise when I pick up the share and see what’s in it.  Best of all, it’s all fresh and so good for you.  With all of the incredible fresh fruits and veggies, how can you not get in shape and eat healthier in the summertime?  If you’re interested in a CSA, check out the one at Glade Run or one of the other programs located throughout the Pittsburgh Area.  You won’t be disappointed. 

This summer, get out and have fun.  There is so much to do and it’s not too far away.  I challenge you to try a new activity, hiking at Moraine State Park or McConnell’s Mills State Park.  Try biking, paddling or enjoy a day at the beach at Moraine.  Play a game of tennis or dip your toes in the pool at the Zelienople Community Park.  Visit a new community celebration in a small town you may not have visited before.  Choose to by fresh veggies from a local CSA or hit a local farmer’s market in your town or stop by a farm market like Deener’s on Route 19 in Cranberry and enjoy the bounty of summer.

Lastly, if you’re really looking for a fun challenge this summer, check out the Mighty Moraine Man Triathlon Festival.  If you are interested in trying a triathlon, this is the one for you.  With Olympic distance or Half Ironman distances available, you can challenge yourself by competing as an individual or getting your friends together to participate in a relay.  Visit for more information on this new and exciting event I’m bringing to Butler County and Western Pennsylvania.

Whatever you choose to do, make this summer a healthy and happy one and remember, it’s as simple as walking out your front door.

For information on the Firecracker 5K in Zelie or the Mighty Moraine Man, please contact Joella Baker at 724-321-4265.