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How to spend the final weeks of summer 2023 in Pennsylvania

Plus, Pa.'s sticky connection to bubblegum.

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Welcome to PA Local, a free weekly newsletter about the great people, amazing places, and delicious food of Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

August 18, 2023
Inside this edition: Summer hurrah, mini world series, rock skipping, more movies, horse gazing, TikTok teacher, train rides, and hip-hop at 50.
🏆 TEST TIME: Test your grip on the week in news with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz: House explosion, Senate hopeful’s residence, and local Little Leaguers
A Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

How soon did tickets for Philadelphia Union's match against Inter Miami CF in the Leagues Cup semifinals sell out?

A. Five hours
B. A day
C. An hour
D. Eight minutes

(Keep scrolling for the answer, but don't miss all the good stuff in between. Like what you read? Forward this email to a friend.)

Our five favorite Pennsylvania stories of the week.

» One fact worth learning: Bubblegum has a special place in Pennsylvania history considering the sticky confection was invented in Philadelphia, via Billy Penn.

» One video worth watching: This Bethlehem teacher has become a viral sensation on TikTok (paywall) for his fun lessons based on top hit songs, including a few from Pennsylvania’s own Taylor Swift.

» One drink (maybe) worth trying: Folks who like a pick-me-up during a night out may be intrigued by a new alcohol-infused brew from Dunkin'. The concoction will be available in 12 states including Pennsylvania.

» One story worth reading: Here’s everything you need to know about Media, the town whose little league team has made it to the World Series. 

» One festival worth visiting: The popular Little Italy Days in Bloomfield is back! Enjoy Italian heritage and festivities through Aug. 20.

The top stories published by Spotlight PA this week.
» How a Pa. court ruling could upend water privatization 

» How to hold local Pennsylvania officials accountable

» Spotlight PA seeks to unseal key document in DuBois official’s corruption case

» A plan to stop diverting road dollars to Pa. State Police could be a final piece of this year’s budget
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Cars are seen driving both directions on a highway, the right lanes moving toward a tree-covered mountain in the distance.
I-80 at the Delaware Water Gap. (Nicholas_T/Flickr)

Folks, I have just returned from the back-to-school aisle at my local emporium to tell you it’s time: Summer 2023 is coming to an end. 

The aisle was still mostly intact though, meaning we’ve got a few weeks of sun and fun left before the brutalist cloud cover of Pennsylvania autumn arrives. It’s been a good run. 

This summer we Oppenheimer-ed. We Barbie-d. Some of us Barbenheimer-ed. We Swift-ed. We Beyoncé-d. We set records in bologna and film. We over-engineered potato chips.

Our best days are not behind us yet. Here are 10 things to do before the clock strikes fall.

Head to the city to experience nature

Take the train 

More movies (this time outside)

Learn pickleball 

  • I’ve never played but I’ve seen otherwise mild-mannered people nearly come to blows over court time, so it must be good. 

  • There are pickleball camps, including in Boiling Springs Sept. 14-15.

  • And Pittsburgh just opened a pickleball mecca on an island in the Allegheny River.

Toss rocks

‘Hillbilly mangoes’

  • Strike out in search of pawpaws, Pennsylvania’s native tropical fruit with a short season that starts in late summer and ends in a matter of weeks.

  • Chef and author Sara Bir told us what to look for and what to expect: “I like to say that it is most like a mango and a banana and yet something completely unfamiliar.” 

  • There are pawpaw festivals in Ohio and York next month.

Secret beach

Small ball

Wild horses 

Wawa bots

  • If you’re passing through Philadelphia on your way to the Jersey Shore or Rehoboth Beach, try Wawa’s new all-digital store in University City.
  • Or read this Inquirer takedown calling it “the 'Stepford Wives' of Wawas, the 'Rosemary's Baby' of convenience stores, the 'Get Out' of retail experiences,” and spend your money at Breezewood instead.
  • Bonus: Race to the Jersey Shore on one of these routes.
Colin Deppen, newsletter editor 
Our favorite quote about Pennsylvania — or from a Pennsylvanian — this week.

“There were so many naysayers that thought hip-hop was a fad, that it would be here today and gone tomorrow. No one had confidence. I did. I can say I honestly believed that hip-hop would be here forever. And look at it now.”

Philadelphia rap pioneer Lady B on the recent 50th anniversary of hip-hop

Our favorite reader-submitted photo of the week.
A natural fisher at Gifford Pinchot State Park, via Ed G. Have a photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
a bird surrounded by towering trees full of green leaves
The answer to this week's Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

D. 8 minutes.

The match sold out in eight minutes when tickets went on sale at 2 p.m. on Aug. 12, WPVI reported. Fans were excited to watch global superstar Lionel Messi play in his first away game for Inter Miami CF in Chester, Pa. 

Thanks for reading PA Local. We'll see you back here next week. But first ... send us your feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? 

Support Spotlight PA's independent, nonpartisan journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
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