Savory food and music to sing along to, topped off by a stroll down memory lane.

For years, that has proved to be the perfect recipe for success at the Palmerton Community Festival.

That tried and true tradition continued on Friday as visitors packed the walkways of the borough park as the 21st annual event got off to a splendid start.

A group of students from St. John Neumann Regional School got the festival under way with a rendition of the national anthem on the main stage.

From there, the Jesse Wade Band took the stage, much to the delight of its fans who relaxed in their chairs to hear some good old fashioned country music.

Across the park by the ride section, Stoney Deluna of Palmerton reminisced about how the festival still resembles itself from years earlier.

Deluna, whose family recently moved back from Texas, then pointed to the motorcycle ride he used to go on in the days of his youth.

"It's the same rides, love the french fries," Deluna said. "I love it here."

Others, such as S.S. Palmer sixth-grader Julie McGowan, played the Toss the Paper game at the TIMES NEWS stand.

McGowan, who won a water bottle, said she enjoyed the activity a great deal.

"I like the games," said McGowan, 11. "It feels good to win a prize."

The entertainment continued well into the evening with a performance by the Tim Gillis Band and Crazy Elmer presents Branson Swings on the main stage.

Reading Escapades was a real hit with the audience as a group of sixth-grade students performed small skits from three popular works by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare.

Blessed with comfortable weather, the festival appeared headed for another successful year, according to Susie Arner, festival chairman/chairwoman.

"Things are running smoothly, everybody's really happy, and the band has drawn a great crowd," Arner said. "Everyone has come out to support their cause and get their food."

Arner said event organizers were "very pleased" with the weather.

"It's a little cool, but it's great eating weather," she said. "We hope to see everyone again the next two days."

The festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will feature nonstop entertainment.

Tracy Lee and Co. will perform on the main stage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the Palmerton Community Band on the bandstand from 1-3 p.m. Hollywood Nights will perform on the main stage from 3-6 p.m., Nicole Donatone on the bandstand from 6-8 p.m., and the Mahoney Brothers on the main stage from 8-11 p.m.

On Sunday, the festival will be open from noon to 9 p.m., and will feature a pay one price ride special from noon to 5 p.m.

Performances will include Midnight Special on the main stage from noon to 2 p.m.; Shake, Rattle and Soul on the bandstand from 2-3:30 p.m.; Jerehmiah James and the Tandem on the main stage from 3:30-5 p.m.; and Dave Rehrig and the Twitty Fever Band on the main stage from 6-9 p.m.

Reading Escapades will again be on the bandstand from 5-9 p.m.

In the event of rain on Sunday, Arner said the festival will be open from 4-9 p.m. Monday.

Parking is free, and handicapped parking is available. No pets, bikes, skateboards or roller skates are permitted in the park during the festival.

For more information, contact (610) 737-3277, or visit