Kipona festival sets sail in Harrisburg with better turn-out from last year


If there’s live music in your ears, the smell of crabcakes in your nose and the glistening of the Susquehanna in your eye, chances are, it’s the Kipona Festival. 

“Kipona; and it means ‘on sparkling water,'” said Megan Roby, Harrisburg’s director of special events. 

Despite the heat and humidity, the three-day long festival had good turnout this year. 

“Police will do the attendance for us. We are up from last year, but we’ll have final numbers after we close tonight at 7,” Roby said. 

Vendors are also feeling the love. Nora Camapanella sells custom-made sea glass jewelry that she harvests by studying tide charts and poring over data and research. 

“There’s a source. It’s coming from somewhere. So, it’s either a shipwreck or a dump site. So, I try to go to those places, and the last thing I try to do is go right after a big storm,” she said. 

She crafts through the ocean, but she has sold her one-of-a-kind creations by the Susquehanna for three years now.  

She said the response to her booth has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“One of the comments they said to me, in fact, I just heard it to day is that, ‘Kipona keeps getting better and better with better quality vendors,” Campanella said. 

In recent years, Kipona has attracted a new breed of entertainers — tightwire walkers like 17-year-old Riley, who is one of the best in her performance troop. 

“She was exposed when she was just 7. She was actually sent to a camp. So, she got exposed through circus that way, and now in the country, that’s becoming much more popular,” said Justin Provoncha, director of Philadelphia Tightwire Walkers

Performing is always a rush, but the group said walking across that Susquehanna sparkling water is a feeling that cannot be beat. 

“We love the idea of putting a tight wire over water. It looks really magical, and that’s what our troop focuses on, so the combination of having a festival on a river like this is kind of perfect,” Provoncha said. 

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