Preservation Pottstown’s July 4th Activities

Preservation Pottstown is a non-profit group that undertakes a host of activities to support and celebrate what’s awesome about Pottstown.

One of their premier events is the Patriotic 5K Run, which will take place this year on Saturday, July 3rd. Parking is at The Hill School‘s Center for the Arts at Beech & Sheridan Streets, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. at The Hill School, and the gun goes off at 8 a.m. See the 5K Race page at the July 4th website or download an entry form here. For more information, call 610-970-6607/6608 or 610-970-6618.

Preservation Pottstown is also a sponsor of Bike Pottstown, the free bike program run by Tri-County Bicycles at 256 High Street. They are rallying a contingent of bikers for the July 4th Homecoming Parade. Tri-County Cycles has 3o bikes in their fleet, available to the first 30 riders who show up. Kids and adults are encouraged to bike into town or bring their bikes, if you’re from out of town, and meet up at the bike shop around 9:45. From there, all bikers will go together to High and Keim Streets to wait for their turn to join the parade, which starts at 10:15.

Bikers will get to see everyone in front of them and, then, when they reach the end of the parade route, they will get to see everyone behind them. Bikers will not miss a thing! So, tape a few streamers to your handlebars, put on your red, white & blue and bike over – I will see you there!

July 4th in Pottstown!

Plans & schemes are heating up for fun & games at The Pottstown July 4th Homecoming Celebration, now in its 32nd year !

Positively!Pottstown is teaming up with Code Blue on a 50/50 raffle, where 50% of proceeds goes to the July 4th Committee and 50% will be split between two lucky winners. Tickets are $5 each; or 3 for $12. Code Blue volunteers & lil ‘ol me will be selling tickets on Friday evening and all day Saturday at the main tent (near the sound booth), throughout the park, and along the parade route. We’ll be trying to sell 1,000 tickets. Support Pottstown’s 4th and you could win big!

A huge thanks to Smale’s Printery on Charlotte Street for the good price & quick turnaround!

Tomorrow: Preservation Pottstown’s 5K Race and calling all bike riders for the parade!

and
POSITIVELY!POTTSTOWN
50/50 RAFFLE TO SUPPORT

50% split by 2 lucky winners

50% for Pottstown July 4th Committee

Drawing held before the fireworks.

$5/ticket ● $12/3 tickets

“Tell us what you think about Pottstown.”

That was an online headline at The Mercury this past Friday, June 25. And then it said, “What positive changes need to be made for Pottstown borough to move forward? Tell us in the comments section below.”

Hmmm… I wondered, “Is this a set-up? Is The Mercury deliberately taunting me over here at Positively!Pottstown?”

I’m sorry, dear readers, I couldn’t hold this in any longer! Here’s what I posted over there this afternoon (as Number5).

” Dear Mercury: thanks for asking! I’ve been thinking about doing a series of blog posts about all these interrelated issues, so I guess this is kind of a jumpstart. Sorry for the length – a lot of pent-up thoughts! And my m.o. is to throw a lot out there and see what resonates on the ground – that’s the spirit in which this is offered.

I’m going to stick with the positive spin of the question – suggesting positive changes.

Pottstown, what’s your story? You need a vision and a voice to communicate that vision. It’s got to go deeper & get more specific than the generalities in study after study. For example: former industrial center retains what is good about its small town past AND re-invents itself for the 21st century. It values its river, historic architecture, walkability, neighborhoods, community gardens and businesses that MAKE things. While the industry used to be all about steel, pies, auto parts, etc., now the town makes art, dance, music, recycled-fashion designs, and solar/green technologies. What the heck, maybe it’s home to several organic coffee roasters too. (This is an example!)

What if just about every decision made by town or a local property owner or civic group took that kind of vision into consideration? There are places billing themselves as “sustainable cities.” Maybe Pottstown could be a “sustainable town”? Could something like that provide the framework for guiding revitalization decisions in Pottstown?

Pottstown has never been for the faint-of-heart; hard-working, gutsy immigrants made this community what it was in its heyday. Now is no different. Arts and business entrepreneurs, who have higher risk levels than the average Joe, would totally be in keeping with Pottstown’s immigrant past.

So, where are these risk-takers? You’ve got a bunch of them in the arts and restaurant community in town already. Another commenter has already mentioned them. Any day now, the Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance is going to launch a totally cool new website. PACA is on its way to putting a very new face on outsiders’ perceptions of Pottstown. They are adding value to this community by what they do every day and, now, by more effectively communicating what they offer. And they’re just getting started.

The business community and property owners are critical. Bottom line: You gotta fill the spaces on High Street. I’m putting out there right now: If anyone in the business and real estate community wants to put together a clearinghouse website to market their Pottstown properties in an attractive, easy-to-understand format that SELLS, I will gladly help make that happen within, say, 90 days. I’m from out of town and I’ve gone looking for properties as though I were an investor, and it’s not easy to even find out what’s available, let alone where might be some good locations for specific uses like a café or a used bookstore/literary venue or whatever.

Community groups: reduce fragmentation wherever possible. Join forces around a common, positive, pro-active vision. Link to and intersect with the arts, business & educational communities wherever appropriate.

Good government. There’s no way around this. There has to be a “good government” halo around Boro Hall that can be seen from Routes 422 and 100. Anyone stepping into the building has to know they will be treated courteously, fairly and consistently. There’s got to be follow-through. You got an ordinance on the books, you enforce it. If it doesn’t make sense in your new vision of yourself, you set out on a course of careful, PUBLIC consideration, you ENGAGE the affected parties/property owners, and you change it. The arts, business and community groups can go pretty far if they’re all pulling in the same direction, but unless the foundation of government is strong and inspires confidence, yeah, people are going to be hard-pressed to trust their investments here.

Nail down the vision ASAP. Preferably without paying for another study! Communicate the vision, whatever it is, through your ACTIONS. (I’ve got some more specifics to throw out there, but will deal with that on the blog.) Everyone: get your stories straight and tell it that way, over and over again, every time your organization or collective reaches a milestone, large or small. Give the naysayers less and less to talk about, especially on public message boards! ”

” Sorry, meant to sign that post:

Sue Repko
Positively!Pottstown ”

Summer Performing Arts Camp at Tri-PAC

By now many readers of this blog have experienced – I hope! – at least one performance at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown. If not, don’t worry – they just keep comin’. Having just put on a widely-acclaimed production of Ragtime, The Musical, they recently announced their Summer Concert Series, which will feature the Jen Chapin Trio on July 16, the Travis Wetzel Trio on July 30 and Maggie and Mark Moliterno and Friends on August 20.

Also on tap is Tri-PAC’s 7th annual Performing Arts Summer Camp for children. There are 3 sessions to choose from, beginning on July 5th, July 18th and August 2nd. Each session lasts two weeks. There are some spaces still available, so email or call today! (Contact rebecca@villageproductions.org or call 610.970.1199)

The summer camp offers students entering grades 1-12 a chance to explore drama, voice and dance with professional instructors. A new format for middle and high school students allows beginners and more experienced performers to try out one of these areas of concentration or advance their skills, whatever suits their interests or needs.

Students in grades 1-4 will take part in an interdisciplinary curriculum, giving them broad exposure to improvisation, theater movement, vocal expression, writing/drawing and making instruments. They can attend for half- or full-day with short breaks in the morning and afternoon, along with lunch (which is “bring your own.”)

For students in grades 5-12, it’s a full-day program from 9am-4pm. This year Tri-PAC has added concentrations in acting, voice, and dance, so that these older kids can work intensively in one of these areas. A student can still be a beginner and sign up for one of the concentrations and really immerse themselves in it. Half the day is spent in their area of concentration and the other half is spent working to put together an ensemble performance, which will be presented on the last day of each two-week session.

For students in 11th and 12th grades (and recent high school graduates) there is also a Counselor-In-Training program.

Tri-PAC’s summer camp options continue to evolve to encourage participation in the performing arts by newcomers and experienced students alike. If you’ve got a budding performer in your family, check it out! There is a Student Referral Incentive program and need-based financial aid available. Full information and registration forms are available at http://www.tripac.org.

We do have a couple winners…

…and I’m waiting to hear back from them about posting their names. Here at Positively!Pottstown, we pick winners the old-fashioned way: on slips of paper drawn out of a hat. This time it was a straw hat, and the pickers were a couple of teenagers, keeping cool in my basement. While we avoid any funny business during these proceedings, I have to admit I had my fingers crossed for Edgewood Cemetery, which is a Facebook friend. It would have been kind of fun to say that this blog is reaching people from the hereafter. More soon…

Drawing for Churchill gift certificates today!

The drawing for a couple $10 gift certificates for Churchill’s will take place today at 3 pm from Positively!Pottstown’s headquarters. I’ll contact the winners and when I hear back from them, I’ll let you know who they are.

It’s not too late to enter by sending an email to positivelypottstown@gmail.com or by subscribing (box to the right) or on Facebook. Good luck!

Let’s get this party started!

Okay, I’m back after 10 days in Vermont at my master’s writing program. Although I LOVED being up there, reading and writing, and talking about reading and writing, and hanging out with readers and writers, I did have pangs of homesickness, including for this blog and this ongoing adventure in community-building.

So, to get back into the swing of things and thank my faithful readers, there will be a drawing this Wednesday afternoon for a a couple of $10 gift certificates to Churchill Artisan Baker & Chocolatier. I’ll pick two names on Wednesday from among Positively!Pottstown blog subscribers, Facebook friends and anyone who just sends me an email at positivelypottstown@gmail.com. (Put “Churchill gift certificate” in the subject line.) If you send an email, you won’t be on any list, or subscribed to anything. And I don’t share my lists or email addresses with anyone.

Churchill, Inc.

Churchill’s is at 137 High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464, and their number is 484-941-5100. I stop in there just about every time I’m in town and can personally vouch for their great food, coffee drinks and free wireless internet. Plus they’ve got regular poetry and music events on Saturday nights. Spread the word!

Reminiscences of a Queen

Yep, you read that title right. And I am of sound and sober mind as I type this.

Over the past three decades, I haven’t had much occasion to talk about this little piece of my past that doesn’t really fit with how I’ve ever thought of myself, but here goes…

I am a former Homecoming Queen.

The year was 1979, and by some fluke or fate or dumb luck, my peers at St. Pius X voted me Queen. It was a surprise and an honor.

But then I found myself, the following summer, automatically in the running for the title of Pottstown’s 4th of July Homecoming Queen. I believe the`system in place then is also in place today: if you put a penny into a candidate’s jar in various locations around town, she got another vote.

And that’s where my royal reign came to a definitive end. As we edged closer to July 4th, it was clear that I didn’t stand a chance. Recently, in the course of doing some research in the Pottstown Library, I looked up The Mercury’s coverage of the big day. Here’s how things shook out:

Kenya Heller – Owen J. Roberts – 87,482
Pam Walter – Pottstown – 46,764
Bernadette Diaz – Pottsgrove – 40,003
Susan Repko – St. Pius X – 6,420

I’ve double-checked my reading glasses and my typing and, no, there are no mistakes in those figures.
But that’s just one aspect of the story, albeit a humbling one. I’ll never forget how we were all treated to lunch at Lakeside Inn. And I’ll never forget riding in a convertible down High Street during the parade, perched on the back of the back seat, waving to the crowd. I shared the car with Bernie Diaz, who had been a good friend of mine in grade school at St. Al’s for a short time and who went on to play tennis at Boston College. And the fireworks were incredible.

I believe 1980 was the second year of Pottstown’s Fourth of July Homecoming Celebration, which now attracts thousands. Times are tough for people, businesses and government, but I hope we can hold on a little bit longer and find the funds to keep this tradition, one of Pottstown’s finest, going strong. In honor of all those people who put their pennies in for me all those years ago, I’m sending in $64.20. For those of you who plan to come to town to take part in this year’s celebration, or those of you who can’t make it but hold a special memory of Pottstown’s 4th in your heart, please send in a donation now. Pulling together, we can keep it going. Thank you.
Make your check payable to Independence Day, Ltd., and send to:
MaryAnn Peters
Pottstown School District
230 Beech St.
Pottstown, PA 19464
All donations are tax deductible.

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