“Come as You ART Ball” this Friday!

Come As You Art Ball to benefit MOSAIC Community Land Trust and Pottstown Dowtown Improvement Authority (PDIDA)

Friday December 9th 8:00PM – midnight
The Ballroom on High, 310 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

Come in costume as your favorite work of art or your favorite poet, musician, dancer, painter, mime, writer, clown, acrobat or movie star!!

It remains to be seen whether I can pull off my plan to come as a Jackson Pollack painting!

Dance the night away to the local, musical machinations of artists Marc Dryburgh (drums), Chris Coyle (bass), Ben Bullok (keyboard) Jazz, Blues and Funk.

$35-single $60-couple

For more information and to buy tickets: Click Here!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa is coming to Pottstown for the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) Hometown Holiday Celebration!  On behalf of Santa, his elf PDIDA Chairman Sheila Dugan is inviting all to downtown Pottstown on Friday, December 2nd starting at 6:30 p.m. for a night of family fun and shopping bargains.  The night’s activities will kickoff with Santa’s arrival via a fire truck from Washington Street to Smith Plaza, where the Pottstown Roller Derby Girls will be collecting letters for Santa.

DECEMBER 2, 2011 6:30pm to 9:30pm – The night’s activities will include:

  • At the plaza, once Santa arrives, a candy toss will be held in the grass in the back area of Smith Plaza.  Be sure to join in, there will be special candy with vouchers for cash and free items throughout the downtown!
  • We will do the tree lighting after the candy toss and the BarberShop Quartet will be singing Carols. Then children can have their photo taken with Santa for $7 each.
  • The Public Library will be hosting Story time at TANGO (139 High St) every half hour starting at 7:00 p.m.
  • At the Farmer’s Market The Giving Tree for the children at HEAD START
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s Pizza

 Don’t miss out on the other evenings of holiday celebration which include:

DECEMBER 10, 2011 12pm to 4pm

  • Santa house open – be sure to check out the local artist’s (Alan McBain) coloring book which features local merchants. This is a great way to see some of the merchants in town as well enjoy coloring with your children. This is sure to be a collector’s item! Photos for $7.00 each can be bought.
  • Crafters at the Farmer’s Market
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s
  • Story time (every half hour) at Tango (139 High St)
  • Free Trolley Rides – Stops at Christian Science Reading Room, Weitzenkorn’s,

DECEMBER 18, 2011 12pm to 4pm

  • Hometown Holidays Brunch – your choice at the Farmer’s Market, featuring the various foods available at the market – home made and fresh! Also Juan Carlos is adding a Mexican flare to the affair. Call 610-323-5400 for reservations before December 12, 2011. Tickets are necessary and must be pre-purchased.
  • Santa house open – be sure to check out the local artist’s (Alan McBain) coloring book which features local merchants. This is a great way to see some of the merchants in town as well enjoy coloring with your children. This is sure to be a collector’s item! Photos for $7.00 each can be bought.
  • Crafters at the Farmer’s Market
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s
  • Story time (every half hour) at Tango (139 High St)                                                                                                                                                 

Pottstown’s 2nd Annual Open Doors set for Saturday, Sept. 10th


Penn Street skateboarders

 Pottstown will literally open its doors to the community this Saturday, September 10th for a cornucopia of commemorations, demonstrations, displays, games, trolley rides, give-aways and more.

Come to downtown Pottstown for events from 11 am – 2 pm. The opening ceremony will feature the Pottstown Middle School Jazz Band at Smith Plaza at 11 am.

Afterwards, you can stroll around town and stop in at the Public Library, Tri-PAC, The Gallery on High, Pottsgrove Manor, The Carousel, Pottstown Karate Club, High Street Music, Farmers’ Market, Genesis Housing, MOSAIC Community Land Trust, PDIDA and the Hill School Art Gallery, to name just a few. There are all the restaurants and merchants too!

Then… Go to Pottstown High School from 2-5pm for more activities, food and fun. There will be over 30 organizational informational tables, displays of police, fire and military equipment, free entertainment, free food, a display of classic cars.

At 7 pm, the varsity football team will take on Pennwood (admission will be charged.)

Check out a more detailed, tentative schedule recently posted by Pottstown.Patch.com. And you can also find out about all the activities by checking out The Mercury’s new Open Doors blog. Last year’s Open Doors was a remarkably positive day for the entire community, and that spirit carried over to many events throughout the past year. Thanks to the many, many volunteers – being led by John Armato and Erika Hornburg-Cooper – who make this day possible.

Crafters wanted for Super Sundays

Do you have a hobby or a craft where you make something that you’d like to sell to the world? Check out this Crafter Call!

Pottstown’s Downtown Improvement District Authority, also known as PDIDA (puh-dee-da), is holding four Super Sundays throughout the fall/early winter to attract shoppers to new and long-standing businesses downtown. They are looking for crafters who want to set up a table and sell their stuff.

Dates are:  Sept. 18, Oct. 23, Nov. 27 and Dec. 18 

12 noon to 4PM

Contact Sheila Dugan for details at 610 310-9339 
$10 entry fee per event or $25 for all.  

 Free your inner artist and make some $$, too!



Draft Heritage Action Plan to be discussed by Council tomorrow night

 On Wednesday, August 3rd, Borough Council will be discussing the Draft Heritage Action Plan (HAP) at the Committee of the Whole Meeting at 7 pm at Borough Hall.

Tom Carroll and I will give a brief presentation – 10 minutes – about the Draft (HAP). The Borough undertook the creation of a HAP this past spring with a grant from the Schuylkill River Greenway Association & the William Penn Foundation. The process sought input from a wide range of history, arts, culture, business and educational partners and citizens. We also got advice from Peter Johnston & Associates, planning consultants out of Easton, Maryland, who created a Schuylkill River Heritage Towns & Tours Toolkit for grant recipients to use.

The ideas behind Pottstown creating a Heritage Action Plan are to:

(1)  identify existing heritage & Schuylkill River Trail-related resources, such as historic walking tours, Pottsgrove Manor, the bike shop, arts organizations and restaurants;

(2)  let Trail users, residents and other visitors know what resources there are and where they’re located through good signs and trail markers;

(3)  get Schuylkill River Trail users from Riverfront Park and into the downtown, where the Trail can be extended down High Street through the use of the existing bike lanes, and further extend the Trail to a new terminus at Pollock Park;

(4)  help generate more foot/bike traffic for downtown merchants; 

(5)  get the Borough, business owners, and arts, historical, recreational, educational and wellness organizations working together around marketing Pottstown as a heritage destination.

One of the key words above is “Action.” There’s $25,000 available now from the Greenway/William Penn Foundation to implement some of the prioritized projects in Pottstown’s Draft HAP. Click on COMPONENT RANKING RESULTS to see the complete list of projects. These are some tangible activities that could help get people into town and give the downtown & PDIDA a leg up in marketing Pottstown as a Heritage Town.

Four projects were identified as appropriate for the next round of implementation funding from the Greenway (the $25K mentioned above.) They are:

#6 – Trail Connection: Riverfront Park to High Street & High Street to Pollock Park
#18 – Pottstown Comprehensive Brochure (to go into kiosks, Chamber of Commerce, businesses)
#28 – 3 Informational Kiosks at Riverfront Park, Pollock Park, Downtown
#36 – Trail Friendly Decal for participating businesses who offer water, rest rooms or discounts to Trail users

 These projects were chosen from the list of 42 projects based on:
• making a visible impact;
• being able to be completed within the scope of the available funds ($25K);
• being able to be completed by May 2012;
• and being compatible with the Heritage Towns & Tours major initiatives:
– destination creation and marketing;
– creating a Trail Town identity and a sense of place;
– and improving or creating on-ground connections between trails and communities.

The HAP can be used as a supporting document to go after more grant money to implement other projects listed in the plan. In a time of dwindling resources, there is still money in PA for conservation, trail connections and the like.

Residents and downtown business and property owners are encouraged to come out tomorrow night to hear more about the HAP and see what’s proposed for implementation.

Pottstown’s 4th of July makes Channel 6 News

Thanks to resident Debby Penrod for reporting that Pottstown’s long-standing Fourth of July celebration made the Channel 6 news. See the video here.

The comment near the end about the event being funded through private donations, rather than tax dollars, will surely strike locals as a skimming of the surface of the very real difficulty of funding the event. The many volunteers who make this and many other community events happen are to be commended for all their hard work and dedication throughout the years.  Unfortunately, it’s no longer business-as-usual for the private or public sectors. There’s got to be a new modelof broader and more innovative collaboration in order to keep these community events going — if they are to keep going at all.

Balloon lifts off

As part of the Heritage Action Plan process that took place this spring – the plan is in the final stages of being drafted – it was noted that Pottstown is the host for local and regional events just about every month out of the year.  See list below.

What does this have to do with raising money for the Fourth of July? The marketing of these events is left up to the individual organizations who run them. Pottstown, as the home of these events, does not “claim them” as their own, supplementing and coordinating with the existing marketing. Imagine the events on this list always being promoted together, wrapped up in a simple, cohesive branding message,  on the Borough, PDIDA, PACA and (eventually) PAID websites.

Pottstown would suddenly look like a place where something fun is always happening. Potential visitors would see the pattern and realize that there is fun and safe entertainment to be found in Pottstown on a regular basis. This is a crucial step (among many others) toward marketing Pottstown’s empty storefronts, industrial space and housing to newcomers — and this is where new donors, volunteers and organizational partners can be found to help keep traditional community events like the Fourth of July going. Donors, especially, want to feel like they are supporting not only a worthwhile cause but a “winning” cause.

Pottstown already has a winning line-up. It just needs to flesh out a couple months, come up with the message (speak with one voice!) and market the hell out of it. 

And just because I can’t help myself, here are a few ideas to toss onto the table:

January – continue the winter holiday spirit with Friday Night Lights downtown with literary readings, music and hot cider at multiple venues; bring in outside talent as well as locals, including students from all schools.

February – come up with a Valentine’s Day-themed event or weekend; schedule historical walking tours and coordinate with Pottsgrove Manor & Historical Society programming over Presidents’ weekend.

March – St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl (Brickhouse, Frankie & Johnnie’s, Pourhouse, Jack Cassidy’s)

April – Repent from Pub Crawl by focusing on Easter season events and holding historic church tours every weekend; add outdoor activities such as Schuylkill River bike and kayak tours every weekend.

November – Open up the holiday season with Pottstown Pie Festival. Re-claim Mrs. Smith and our pie-making heritage!!

Festivals/Special Events in Pottstown, by month

 January – Polar Bear Plunge

 February – ?

March – ?

 April – Easter/Cross Walk

 May – BMX National Event; Classic Car Show

 June– Schuylkill River Sojourn; Soap Box Derby; Volleyball Rumble; Summer Solstice/Dog Show; Classic Car Show

July – July 4th; Classic Car Show

August – Classic Car Show

 September – Carousel of Flavor; Open Doors; Classic Car Show

October –Schuylkill River Festival; Halloween Parade; Shiver on the River

 November – ?

December – Candlelight House Tour; Hometown Holiday Celebration

PDIDA Calendar

If you don’t know what PDIDA is or what it stands for, read on.

The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority is a special assessment district that provides benefits to businesses such as keeping the area safe and clean and helping with marketing.  The Main Street Manager, Leighton Wildrick, works under their umbrella.

PDIDA is pronounced Puh-Dee-Duh. And, yes, it’s kind of musical!

And now the main reason for this post: PDIDA recently began updating their online calendar and it looks awesome! Please check it out HERE.

Also, please note the Hometown Holiday Celebrations that are happening on Fridays in December – the 3rd, 10th and 17th. There will be TONS to do downtown and it will be lit up and decorated!

To support the businesses, arts & restaurants, I’m hoping we can get a crowd together for a “High Street Holiday Hop” for December 3rd. The basic idea is to start at The Brick House at 5 pm and then every 30 minutes or so, move as a group to another venue. We can listen to the choirs and carolers along the way and eat, drink and shop our way up and down High Street. I’ll let you know more as the date gets closer.

In the meantime, be sure to bookmark PDIDA’s calendar!

Open Invitation

Because the town that breaks bread together will find a way to revitalize together…

[Click 11/19/10 for vibrant, colorful invitation.]

(Get your positive vibe on here.)



When: Friday, November 19 from 5:01-7:00 p.m.

Where: PDIDA Office, 139 E. High St., Pottstown, PA 19464

Bring yourself, bring a friend!

Anyone interested in Pottstown’s revitalization is invited to

this casual, monthly gathering.

Bring business cards, brochures or flyers for 50 people.

We want to help you make connections!

Your $5 contribution helps pay the talented local vendors

who supply food & beverages.







Thanks to Leighton Wildrick & PDIDA for the generous use of their space


Chestnut Knoll Assisted Living for their donation of appetizers this month!

Free drawing for a $20 gift certificate to Funky Lil’ Kitchen!




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