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HHR to Host 2011-2013 Keystone State Summer Games

Published: May 17, 2010

Pennsylvania’s largest amateur athletic festival returns to region for three years.

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Harrisburg, PA (May 17, 2010) - The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today announced it will once again host the Keystone State Summer Games, Pennsylvania’s largest amateur athletic festival, for three consecutive years beginning July 2011.

The region previously hosted the Summer Games from 1993-1998, marking the first time the event was held in the same location for six consecutive years. The 2011 Summer Games will take place July 25-31.

The three-year agreement, worth approximately $25 million in economic impact for the region, was announced today by HHRVB Board Chairperson Tara Betz and Bureau President Mary Smith at a morning press conference held at Metro Bank Park

Bureau officials, accompanied by Keystone State Games CEO Owen Costello, Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick III, and Harrisburg City Mayor Linda D. Thompson, revealed the details of the event and the economic impact for this region to a crowd of local hoteliers, business owners, and HHRVB Partners.

Metro Bank Park is one of the many venues in the region that may be playing a role in the festival.  Other venues being considered include Giant Center in Hershey and the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center that may serve as the festival’s headquarters during the Games. Many more venues and school facilities throughout the region will be verified in the coming months by event organizers.

The Keystone State Summer Games, modeled after the Olympic Games with multi-sport competitions, attracts approximately 13,000 athletes, families, and spectators annually from Pennsylvania according to organizers.

HHRVB tourism officials also announced that corporate sponsorship opportunities will soon be available and that anyone interested in being a sponsor of the Summer Games should contact Mary Smith at HHRVB at Mary@HersheyHarrisburg.org or (717) 231-7788. Community organizations and individuals interested in volunteering to work the games should contact Jen Gleim at the Bureau at Jennifer@HersheyHarrisburg.org  or (717) 231-7788.

Tourism officials used Metro Bank Park’s outfield jumbo screen to unveil the new regionally branded “Hershey Harrisburg Region Keystone State Summer Games” logo designed by local creative agency Whutta Design. Smith presented the logo, incorporating the iconic capitol dome and Keystone, as just one of the many marketing and sponsorship initiatives the bureau will be using over the next four years to promote the region as the host of the Summer Games.

Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick III, spoke of how the games affected him personally when he won two gold medals wrestling at the 1988 Keystone State Summer Games.  Hartwick went on to explain how these games not only have a lasting and meaningful impact on the athletes, but how they also positively impact the host community with the influx of visitors living in the region for up to a week during the festival.

Harrisburg City Mayor Linda D. Thompson spoke of the community pride that comes with hosting such a coveted competition and the important role athletics play in building character and teaching discipline among today’s youth. Thompson went on to say that being named “Host of the 2011-2013 Keystone State Summer Games” is a sweet addition to the city and the region’s growing list of recent accolades including “Top Minor League Sports Market in the U.S.” by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal; “America’s 5th Most Livable City” by Forbes magazine; and “Top 100 Places to Live” by Relocate America.  

2011 will mark the 30-year anniversary for the Keystone State Games, created in 1981 by then Chester County Representative Joseph R. Pitts, who now serves in the United States House of Representatives.

Caption (L-R): HHRVB President Mary Smith; Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III; Harrisburg City Mayor Linda D. Thompson; Keystone State Games CEO Owen Costello; HHRVB Board Chairperson Tara Betz; presenting a 5lb Hershey® Chocolate Bar wrapped in the new “Hershey Harrisburg Region Keystone State Summer Games” logo that will be used by HHRVB to promote the games from 2011 to 2013.  View larger photo.


What are the Keystone Games?

The Keystone Games are Pennsylvania’s largest amateur athletic festival for all ages with the incorporation of the Pennsylvania Senior Games in 2007. The games are modeled after the Olympic Games with the event consisting of multi-sport (30) competitions providing Pennsylvania’s amateur athletes an opportunity to compete against athletes from throughout the Commonwealth for gold, silver and bronze medals.

What is the difference between Keystone Games and Senior Games?

Senior Games are the same type of competition but for those 50 and older.

How long have the Games been played?

The 2011 Summer Games in Hershey Harrisburg Region will mark their 30th Anniversary – “The Pearl Anniversary Year”

How many people attend the Games annually?

Approximately 13,000 people attend the Summer Games each year, including athletes, their families, and spectators.

What dates will the Games be held in 2011?

The event is July 25-31, 2011 and will be held the last week of July in 2012, 2013.

When did the Hershey Harrisburg Region last host the Summer Games?

This region last hosted the Keystone State Summer Games from 1993-1998. That marked the first time the Games were held in the same location for six consecutive years.

What facilities will be used in the Hershey Harrisburg Region?

The Games will be played in venues throughout the Hershey Harrisburg Region (Dauphin County). Some of those venues being considered include Harrisburg’s City Island – Metro Bank Park, Hershey’s Giant Center, The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, area high schools, and other sporting facilities & complexes.

How do communities benefit from hosting the Games?

The Games provide a wide variety of opportunities for the hosting community to get involved, including becoming a sponsor, participating as an athlete, or volunteering during the event.

What is the economic impact to a community hosting the Games?

Considering the region will host the event three consecutive years the tangible benefits include: more than 6,000 athletes and many of their families will be living in our region for up to seven days or more (eating, sleeping, shopping, touring) thereby greatly benefiting our hotel, restaurant, retail, and service provider Partners. The estimated economic boost is nearly $25 million over the 3-year period.

How old do you have to be to compete in the Games?

Most of the sports are for children and teenagers, participating in age group divisions. But some events, including golf and soccer, have adult divisions.

What events are featured?

Events like track and field are for serious older athletes. Other events, such as casting, shuffleboard and bocce, offer a chance to socialize while promoting activity for older citizens, which is the goal of the games.

Will all competitions be held in Dauphin County?

The majority of events will be held within Dauphin County, but some events may require facilities located in neighboring counties and communities.

Keystone State Games Fact Sheet


The Keystone State Games are a result of a resolution by Representative Joseph R. Pitts (Chester County) and approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1980. Keystone State Games Inc., a nonprofit corporation, was formed in 1983 with the help of former Governor Richard Thornburgh so the Games would not be solely dependent on government funding.
The mission of the Keystone State Games is to promote physical fitness and sports activity as a health improvement and disease prevention strategy for all Pennsylvanians and to create an expanded, coordinated and citizen-sponsored program of physical fitness and amateur athletic competition.


Provide a comprehensive, coordinated and citizens supported program of sports and fitness competitions to promote physical fitness in which all Pennsylvanians can participate for the purposes of personal growth and development, and the enhancement of physical and mental health.

Provide a mechanism and medium through which Pennsylvania’s sport bodies can stimulate physical fitness and sports involvement for everyone.

Encourage government, schools, businesses, industry, foundations, and individuals to support expansion of physical fitness and sports participation as a disease prevention strategy in an effort for personal wellness.

Provide a statewide, multi-sport program with an Olympic format, to encourage and assist in preparing Pennsylvania’s athletes to enter national and international competitions.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110