Another First Saturday on tap!

If you’re in town for the holiday weekend, be sure to cruise over to Smith Family Plaza this Saturday from 10am – 2pm for the final First Saturday of the season, brought to you by the Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance.

Entertainment
10-11 am: Pottstown Dance Theatre – Hip-Hop performance
11am-12pm: High Street Music – Jazz
12-2 pm: Music by acoustic roots rocker Dina Hall

Men in Spikes fundraiser

Men: there’s still time to find two friends who will race in spikes to raise money for your favorite charity. The race starts at 1 pm.

Here’s how it works:
Pay a $200 entry fee, or get in touch with Mike Holliday at actone19464@aol.com regarding possible sponsorship.
Bring your own spikes or choose from the assortment at Smith Plaza.
Teeter and totter your heart out.
Cross the finish line.
It’s winner-take-all. If your team wins, you get all the proceeds donated to your favorite charity.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle going on. Tickets are $1, and purchasers get to cast a vote for their favorite team. The raffle proceeds will be split between the charity of the favorite team and the winning team’s charity. If you’re confused, don’t worry about it — all proceeds go to good causes! So… who will survive Men in Spikes?? Tune in for the action at Smith Plaza tomorrow!

Just checking in…

Hi, dear readers! I threw my back out a couple days ago and haven’t been able to spend a lot of time at the keyboard, but things are improving and I hope to post again before the weekend is out.

In the meantime, mark your calendars for the community events scheduled for Saturday, September 11. I think I’ve come up with a cool community building activity; I just have to talk to a few folks to see how/where we can set it up.

And for things to do this weekend, check out the calendars at the Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance and The Pottstown Post.

Another fun First Saturday!

This past weekend, another First Saturday (brought to you by the Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance) brought the downtown to life with music, community-building and classic cars.

sweet!

This was the first time I set up a table, and I sure was grateful to get an iced mocha from Churchill and to get a spot under a canopy from Erica Hornburg-Cooper from The Gallery School. When kids stopped by to do art projects, they usually grabbed a bottle of bubbles and a Positively!Pottstown re-usable bag from my table.

It seemed like lots of people were getting great book bargains from the Pottstown Public Library sale. As they kept making their way to my table, it became obvious that I should just turn my bags over to the folks at the library so people could put their books directly into them there! Since the 4th of July, 250 Positively!Pottstown bags have infiltrated the community, bringing day-glo orange cheeriness to shopping carts throughout the region. Can a world dominated by positivity be far behind??

Another cool thing about hanging out at Smith Family Plaza on First Saturday is that the world comes to you, bringing ideas for future blog posts. I met Louis Rieger of High Street Music. And Ross Landy of WPAZ Preservation Association. And when lunchtime rolled around, my mom brought a delicious and filling sandwich from Grumpy’s, who will be featured in an article later this week.

Rounding out the music for the day was “Maggie Spike,” the duo of Eric and Peggy Gernerd. These Berks County natives play a very enjoyable, foot-tapping mix of acoustic folk, rock, jazz and reggae that has you humming along in no time.

Maggie Spike and Mike Holliday (courtesy of Maggie Spike)

And, finally, since I really had to get home, I could only glimpse the beginning of the Pottstown Classics Car Club Nostalgia Night and make plans to spend some more time there next month. The next First Saturday, which will be the final one for 2010, will take place on September 4th – hope to see you then!

Travis Wetzel Trio at Tri-PAC this Friday!

If you’re looking to kick off your weekend with outstanding bluegrass, rock, gospel, country and jazz, look no further than the incomparable Travis Wetzel Trio this Friday, July 30th at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center on High Street in downtown Pottstown. These musicians are at the top of their game and they’ve played with the best in the business.

Travis Wetzel is a dynamic musician, song writer, and vocalist. He’s been the lead fiddler/violinist on countless recording projects and has performed and recorded with the likes of Bill Monroe, Del McCoury, Mac Wiseman, David Frizzell and jazz legend Stephane Grappelli.

Travis has worked for charitable organizations such as HALTER Therapeutic Riding Program with Wynonna Judd, The Parent Project with Charles Osgood of CBS’s Sunday Morning, and the VSA Arts of NJ. He can be seen and heard almost every week on the Grand Ole Opry with legendary instrumentalist and singer Jesse McReynolds.

Bass player Ron Greenstein has toured Europe and the US with the Lewis Brothers and currently plays bass for folk icons Tom Paxton and The Chad Mitchell Trio.

Acoustic guitarist Bob Harris has performed, produced and recorded nearly 1000 albums and sessions with some of the industry’s top acoustic and country musicians. A member of fiddle legend Vassar Clements’ band for 15 years, Bob was also the first place winner of Guitar Player International’s “Ultimate Guitar Competition” in 1992.

So, order your tickets now and decide where you want to have dinner (check out the list of dining options at the Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance website!) Then get to Tri-PAC before the 8 pm start time. You won’t want to miss a minute!

Tri-PAC’s Summer Concert Series
TRAVIS WETZEL TRIO
Friday, July 30th – 8:00 pm
Adult: $17; Student/Senior (65+): $15; Child (12 & under): $13

Tri-PAC
245 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464

“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 ”

Calendar

Wow. I had the sense that there was plenty going on, but until I tried to put together a calendar, I didn’t realize just how much.

Maintaining a calendar & putting in all the links is – um – kind of a lot of work. I don’t know if I have the stamina for it… but WAIT!

The Pottstown Arts & Cultural Alliance is going to be unveiling its new website in the very near future, and they’re going to have a calendar, so maybe the calendar here can just serve as a temporary clearinghouse until the PACA page comes along? For now, here you go…

April 22-25A Night of David Ives One-Acts
Location: Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street
Times & Tickets:
Friday, Apr. 23 – 8:00 pm
Saturday, Apr. 24 – 8:00 pm
Sunday, Apr. 25 – 3:00 pm
ADULT: Thurs $15; Fri, Sat & Sun $17
STUDENT/SENIOR(65+): Thurs $13; Fri, Sat, Sun $15
CHILD (12 & under): Thurs $11; Fri, Sat & Sun $13
$2 off per ticket for groups of 10 or more!

April 23 – DJ Bruce Miller, dance to sounds of 50s, 60s, 70s
Location: Sunnybrook Ballroom, Colonial Room
Time: 8-11pm, doors open 7:45 pm
Cover: $5
Age: Over 21

April 24Rian Wallace 4th Annual Goals Over Obstacles Football Clinic
Location: PHS Grigg Memorial Field, 750 N. Washington St.
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Cost: Free
Register: GoalsOverObstacles@gmail.com

April 24Wondabubba and the Big Splash
Location: Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street
Time: 11 am and 3 pm
Tickets: ADULT: $8, Children: $5, Senior/Student: $8
Age: Recommended for grades K-3

April 24Singer Songwriter Showcase
Location: Churchill Artisan Baker & Chocolatier, 137 High Street
Time: Every Saturday, see schedule & performers here

April 25Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Co. Fundraiser
Location: Limerick Bowl
Time: 2-4 pm
Cover: $15 (includes shoes, ball, raffle ticket)

April 30-May 8YWCA Women’s Festival of the Arts
Location: The Gallery on High, 254 E. High St.
Opening Reception: 6-8pm, Friday, April 30

April 30Emily’s Toy Box
Location: The Brick House, 152 E High Street
Time:10 p.m.

May 1Pottstown’s First Saturday
Location: Smith Family Plaza, 100 High Street
Time: 10 am – 2 pm

Children’s activities, vendors, flea market, live entertainment
10-11– SwingKat swing & salsa demonstration
11-12 – High Street Music Showcase
12-2 – Gene Galligan

Be a part of “Car-Art” and help paint a 1949 Buick!

Compete in “Project Art-cycle” alone or bring a team. Register for this event by April 28th. You bring art supplies. On May 1st, you’ll be given a kit of recycled materials to use in your sculpture, plus an optional bonus item. Work from 10am-1pm, then let the judges do their job! Register at info@galleryonhigh.com

May 2 – Polka Gala featuring the Polka Family Band and Ray Jay & the Carousels
Location: Sunnybrook Ballroom
Time: noon-8 pm
Cover: $15 in advance; $20 at the door

May 2 Sunday in the Park Music Series featuring Neighbor Poem
Location: Riverfront Park amphitheater, College Drive, Pottstown
Time: 2-4 pm
Cover: Free.

May 2Kinnara Choral Ensemble
Location: Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Time: 7:30 pm
Cover: Free. (A free-will offering will be collected.)

May 5Wine After Five Celebrates Cinco de Mayo
Location: Gallery School, 254 E. High St.
Time: 6:30 pm
Cover: $45, fundraiser. Must purchase tix before April 30.

May 8Otherwise-Poetry at Churchill’s featuring Jules Gibbs & Bruce Smith
Location: Churchill Artisan Baker & Chocolatier
137 High Street
Time: 7 pm
Host: Glenn McLaughlin (featured readings followed by open mic)

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