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Living in a town like Hershey, PA is an interesting experience.  For the bulk of the year, it is a relatively quiet town, a typical American small town you might say.  During those times it can be a pleasant enough place.  Yes, we have our problems, but overall Hershey is a beautiful and friendly community.

That all changes from Memorial Day to Labor Day and for the first weekend in October.  There are other hotspots, I suppose, but the summertime and October really stand out.  The reason is Hershey is a town which has tourism as one of its top industries. During the summer months people flood into this small town from all over the northeast to go to Hersheypark, attend concerts at Hersheypark Stadium or the Giant Center, and see sights like the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa and the Hershey Kiss streetlights.  In October, the Hershey-based Antique Auto Collector’s Association has their annual Fall Meet and members from all over the country descend upon us.

Now, I know what you’re saying.  How bad could it be?  I mean its Hershey for goodness sake!  Well, I thought the same thing until I lived here through my first summer.  The sheer volume of people coming through town, especially on any holiday, is insane.  This is especially problematic because the Township of Derry (no, we technically are not Hershey, and don’t say Derry Township, it upsets their sensibilities) continually strives to keep Hershey’s small town feel.  You know what, I like small town feel.  I like tree lined streets and the like.

It just isn’t practical during the peak seasons!

The only ways into Hershey are on state roads that are never more than four lanes, and this ends when you get to Hershey.  Almost every street in town is a typical small town two laner.  Even Hersheypark drive, which sees the bulk of he traffic is only four lanes for the bulk of its length.  You know what this means?  It means get in and out of Hershey for locals is a royal pain in the ass.  And, of course, the tourists A) feel a certain sense of entitlement, after all they are on vacation, you are not and B) often have no idea where they are going and drive in very erratic fashion.

And, if you want to grab a bite to eat, get a tank of gas, or anything of the sort better plan on getting it done out of town.  The restaurants are jammed to the gills and many of them, as well as some gas stations, jack their prices up during the season.  My wife and I were in a local diner a few weeks ago and I saw a man snapping his fingers at a waitress and even try to grab a passing server by the arm.  I almost fell over from lack of surprise when he left and I saw New York tags on his car.

It’s like that everywhere in town.  I find myself wishing for Labor Day weekend and a reprieve from the madness.

I suppose for the next few weeks I’ll have to content myself with watching grown adults climb through bushes to get their picture taken with the street sign at the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa.

If it’s called “Tourist Season” then why can’t we shoot them?


One Comment

  1. I suppose there are benefits to living in Houston. No one wants to come to Houston in July. Everyone wants to leave!

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