SPONSORED | Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau Summer 2021
Strategically located for businesses and residents alike, Butler County, PA, sits just 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh and is easily accessed by the PA Turnpike, I-79, I-80, and State Routes 422, 19, and 8. With its prime location, Butler County is experiencing rapid growth ranging from high tech, energy, agricultural, and manufacturing. As a result, new businesses, tech companies, and healthcare facilities are planting their roots here.
Butler County is the headquarters of Westinghouse, Butler Technologies, Mine Safety Appliances, and many more. Many companies are not only making advancements within the county but also around the world. For instance, Butler Technologies Inc. worked with Ralph Lauren designers and DuPont engineers to add heating elements inside the heavy-duty, down-filled, red, white, and blue jackets worn by each of the U.S. team members at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Butler County’s landscape is very diverse. Cranberry Township is one of the fastest-growing communities in Pennsylvania and in the country. While the busy hub of Cranberry features a plethora of restaurants, hotels, and modern-day conveniences, other areas of the county consist of small, charming towns, rolling farmlands, and off-beat attractions. Butler County is home to beautiful parks, versatile sporting venues, multi-functional event facilities, and so much more, providing countless recreational activities. As a result of continued economic growth and development, Butler County residents benefit from the area’s excellent quality of life, making it a great place to live, work and play.
Birthplace of the Jeep
What makes something stand the test of time while the world around us is evolving with new technology every day? The men behind the development and design of the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) would have been great people to ask since the American Bantam Car Company’s BRC, born in Butler, Pennsylvania, is the predecessor to the Jeep® vehicles you see on the road today.
In 1940, the U.S. Army asked over 100 tractor and auto manufacturers to design a four-wheel drive, 40-horsepower, 1,200-pound reconnaissance car that could haul soldiers as well as heavy artillery and requested a working prototype within 49 days.
With only two companies responding to the request, the American Bantam Car Company created the Jeep prototype responsible for making American forces mobile during WWII.
The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in June was created to commemorate the history and birthplace of the Jeep. This year, the festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary June 11-13. This event continues to be one of the county’s largest and most attended events, drawing in thousands of people worldwide. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival helps local businesses generate additional revenue and brings a sense of community pride to Butler County.
The festival has also been recognized as the “Event of the Year” by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Society for Tourism.
Charming Towns & Culinary Finds
Butler County’s quaint towns might be small, but they are big on flavor! You’ll quickly become captivated by many historical areas like Butler, Saxonburg, Harmony, and especially Zelienople. Often referred to as “Zelie,” this town is lined with locally-owned businesses all while preserving the charm and delightful beauty of its Main Street. Zelienople attracts visitors with its specialty boutiques, idyllic shops, gorgeous historic homes, unique dining options, breweries and art scene. Locals flock to popular eateries like Kaufman Tavern and Della Terra. These restaurants feature ingredient-driven cuisines combined with a trendy atmosphere, making for an unforgettable dining experience. The night doesn’t have to end after dinner. Make your way to one of the town’s breweries or get dessert at the IceBox Creamery.
Sweet Tooth Trail
Feel like a kid again, or bring them along on the Butler County Sweet Tooth Trail, a self-guided tour of local bakeries, ice cream shops, and candy stores. Create your own itinerary and fill up your passport with a special symbol from each participating location. Once your passport is complete, bring it to Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau to claim a commemorative prize.
Butler County Beer Circuit
Grab your “Passport to Hoppiness” and navigate your way through the Butler County Beer Circuit, a self-guided trail of local brewpubs. This trail features 13 different brewpubs, a taproom, and a canning facility; all offering a variety of unique and local craft beers year-round. Simply fill up your passport with stamps from each location, then bring your completed passport to Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau to claim a commemorative prize. You don’t have to travel far for refreshing beers and distinctive menu items — explore something new on the Butler County Beer Circuit.
Tourism is a top industry in Butler County, and it has greatly enhanced the area in several ways. As a result of the county’s growth, the area is constantly hosting events, festivals and tournaments generating millions of dollars benefiting the local economy. Several attributes make the county unique like its beautiful parks, rich automotive history, agricultural impact, versatile sporting venues and more.
Butler County features over 21 hotels, nine B&Bs and eight campgrounds! The bustling area of Cranberry Township is one of the fastest growing communities in the country, and has over a dozen hotels, trendy shops and a multitude of restaurants.
Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau is the area’s destination marketing organization, and their mission is to promote Butler County, Pennsylvania, as an attractive tourism and business destination. The Tourism Bureau wants residents and visitors to know about the wonderful things the county has to offer. Every year they produce an Official Visitors Guide which serves as an effective marketing tool along with their website, event calendar and social media platforms. The Bureau also has multiple self-navigated trails in place like the Butler County Beer Circuit, and the Sweet Tooth Trail, which encourages visitors to go to various businesses, fill up their passports, and turn it into the Tourism Bureau to claim a commemorative prize. The Bureau is always looking for ways to market the area, and bring visitors to Butler County.
Moraine State Park is the county’s biggest attraction and sees close to two million visitors a year. It consists of 16,725 acres of pure beauty intertwined with an abundance of outdoor activities, making it the most visited attraction in the county at any time of the year. Moraine State Park is the third largest park in Pennsylvania. It offers various activities for year-round enjoyment like hiking, biking, boating, disc golf, cross-country skiing, cabin rental, and more!
Moraine State Park is referenced as a “National Hidden Gem” by Rand McNally’s Pocket Guide for American Express, and in 2008 it was named “number one park in the state of Pennsylvania.”
The main feature of Moraine State Park is Lake Arthur, spanning 3,225 acres and offering 42 miles of shoreline. Moraine has 28 miles of hiking trails, including The North Country National Scenic Trail that stretches from North Dakota to Vermont. The Park also hosts numerous events throughout the year, providing something for everyone!
The newest attraction is “Preston’s Pearl,” a new educational tour boat at Moraine State Park. The new enclosed tour boat increases the passenger capacity of the previous boat. It has an upper deck for outdoor viewing. Cruises are offered from Memorial Day Weekend through October, and passengers will learn about the area’s history and wildlife within the Park. The tour boat also offers environmental programs, dinner cruises, private charters for business meetings, seminars, and parties.
Butler County hosts several events, festivals, and tournaments, giving us strong brand recognition and drawing in large crowds from all over the world. Not only does this have a positive financial impact on our county, but it benefits local businesses and vendors as well.
Major events include the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, Moraine State Park Regatta, Big Butler Fair, German Christmas Market, and the many regional and national hockey tournaments at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the practice facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Cooper’s Lake, with its rolling hills and open layout, has become a recurring destination for Pittsburgh’s Tough Mudder. This two-day event brings many out-of-market visitors to the county and generates business for hotels, restaurants and local shops.
Butler County also features a variety of championship disc golf courses located at Moraine State Park, Slippery Rock University, and a brand new course in Cranberry Township, which is one of the world’s longest and most challenging disc golf courses. The county has hosted several national tournaments and an international disc golf tournament, resulting in a significant economic impact for the area.