By Alicia Dziak

Summer is in full swing at Allegany State Park (ASP), New York’s largest state park. Grab a bite to eat at the Park Restaurant, located at the Red House Admin building, where the patio is open for the season, and plan your time at the park!

There’s no better way to cool off during a heat wave than by a dip in the lake, and ASP offers two sandy beaches.

Red House Lake, which just reopened after being closed for nearly a year due to construction of the Red House Dam, is ready once again to welcome visitors to its scenic waters. Beachgoers will not only enjoy a guarded beach with plenty of room to sprawl out on the sand and the grass, but can also have fun at the all-new playground overlooking the beach. (A second new playground was also constructed on the Quaker side of the park in the picnic area across from the Amphitheater.) The snack bar is open, as well as the boathouse, where you can rent kayaks, SUPs, canoes and even bikes and pedal cars to cruise the bike path on.

Over at Quaker Lake, the beach is open daily as well, offering plenty of parking, picnic tables and a wide beach for sunning and building sandcastles. A new dock area has been added this year, adjacent to the beach, where you can also rent a variety of watercrafts to enjoy the lake.

ASP packs in a full lineup of live music all summer long with special events and their Artists in Resident Program, which unofficially began in the early 1980s. In the early years, concerts were mainly on the Red House side of the park, but as it continued to grow in popularity, eventually the Quaker side of the park was included. Today, concerts are held all week long at various locations throughout the park, including the Quaker Amphitheater, Red House Beach and Red House Administration Building lawn. The schedule can be picked up at either registration building or viewed on the park’s Facebook page.

Rock the Park July 20

The seventh annual Rock the Park at Allegany State Park is scheduled to take place at Friday, July 20 in the Quaker Beach area.

The event — which features music, food, vendors and the opportunity to chat with park naturalists — begins with a local vendor showcase at 3 p.m. Various merchants and organizations will be on hand to familiarize park patrons and local residents with opportunities available to them in the surrounding area.

At 5 p.m., park naturalists will host an “Ask the Naturalist” program that will feature several interactive nature displays.

At 6 p.m. it’s time to “Rock the Park” with opening act and ASP’s artist-in-residence, The Rightly So.

Born in the heart of the Buffalo rust belt, The Rightly So brings a vibrant energy to Americana music. The young acoustic duo comprises esteemed guitarist and performer Gregory Zeis and award-winning singer/songwriter Jess Chizuk. They will be followed by headliner Sean Patrick McGraw.

The event is free to attend. For more information, contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at 354-9101 ext. 236.

Dog Days of Summer July 21

On Saturday, July 21, from 2-5 p.m., come out and bring your four-legged furry friends to the Red House Picnic Area at Allegany State Park for the first annual Dog Days of Summer event! From obstacle courses to paw-painting, this event is perfect for you and your pup. Any pet on a maximum of a six-foot leash, with proof of vaccination, and is friendly to both people and other animals is more than welcome. This event will feature free doggie goodies and the special guest will be EARS, a local pet rescue who will bring along animals looking for their forever home.

Registration is not required. For more information, visit the Allegany State Park Facebook page or contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext. 236 or AlleganySP@parks.ny.gov.