Bradford is gearing up to celebrate two big oil anniversaries this fall: the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Bradford oil field and the 50th anniversary of the Penn Brad Oil Museum.
Organizers are planning an event in downtown Bradford on Sept. 18, followed by an event at the museum on Sept. 19, according to museum Manager Fran Bottone and Heidi Scrivo Passmore, executive director of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Sept. 19 activities will double as the museum’s annual Derrick Day celebration. The anniversaries will be tied together with commemorative souvenirs. Also, more activities will be planned to lead up to the main celebration.
“This is important for the community because oil built this town and area, and without it Bradford likely would be a wide spot in the road, instead of the ‘Hi Grade Oil Metropolis of the World,’” said Bottone, explaining the significance of the museum and the oil industry here.
“In the 1880s Bradford supplied 80% of the United States’ oil and 70% of the world’s oil, and it’s not just the quantity but the quality of our oil here,” he said. “Many aren’t aware of the extensive history and many claims to fame that Bradford has when it comes to this.”
While planning is still in the early stages, Passmore and Bottone described the activities that are currently in the works.
Passmore said that activities set for downtown include “living history actors, music from that time period, displays of historical equipment, entertainment including fun activities for children, food, drink vendors and more.”
Also, the planning committee is inviting nonprofits to sell food and drinks.
“This is in an effort to help nonprofits who have lost funds due to COVID,” Passmore explained.
On Derrick Day, activities include a drawing for the winner of the Henry “Oil Man’s Special” .44 caliber lever action rifle raffle and a “Bit Dressing” demonstration. Also, there will be dedications of a rare, made-in-Bradford Emery Oil field engine, as well as a large mural of historically significant local oil scenes. The mural is to be painted by local artists and installed in the museum.