After a gloomy week, it was time to once again enjoy the outdoors.

Indeed, Mother Nature shined down bright on the 22nd annual Palmerton Community Festival, which got under way Friday in the borough park.

While the messy weather over the past week made for soggy conditions, it wasn't enough to derail interest as patrons anxiously lined the walkways.

That the event was able to get off to a successful start was a huge weight off everyone's shoulders, according to Susie Arner, festival chairperson.

"We're happy with the turnout of people and their continued support," Arner said. "Hopefully it continues all weekend."

Kenny and Jennifer Bottcher of Slatington brought their daughter Kayla and son Jacob for some family fun.

"I graduated from Palmerton, so we come about every other year," Kenny Bottcher said. "We like to support the community and have fun, and the kids love it."

Looking skyward across the park, Chase Dailey of Palmerton could be seen completing in the Rope-A-Phobia challenge set up by the National Guard.

"It was a hard obstacle course that turned out to be very easy," said Chase, 14. "Personally, the thing I felt was the hardest was the tight rope."

The event began with the blessing by the Rev. Nathan Fry, pastor of the Living Light House Church, Palmerton, followed by a rendition of the National Anthem by Terry McMahon, who sings backing vocals for Hollywood Nights.

Nicole Donatone jump-started the entertainment from the main stage, while the McElligott School of Irish Dance took center stage on the bandstand and Hollywood Nights performed later on the main stage.

The festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will include a performance by the Palmerton Community Band from noon to 2 p.m. on the bandstand. Other entertainment today includes Flamin' Dick and the Hot Rods from 2-5 p.m. on the main stage; the Tracy Lee Band from 5-8 p.m. on the bandstand; and the Mahoney Brothers from 8-10:30 p.m on the main stage.

On Sunday, the festival will be open from noon to 9 p.m., and will feature a 9/11 remembrance ceremony from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. on the main stage.

There will also be a Pay One Price Ride Special from noon to 5 p.m., as well as entertainment from the PA Villagers from noon to 2 p.m. on the bandstand; the Uptown Band from 3-5 p.m. on the main stage; and the Twitty Fever Band from 6-9 p.m. on the main stage.

There is no admission charge, free parking, and plenty of free entertainment, bingo, rides, Chinese auction, games, homemade foods and crafts.

No pets, bikes, skateboards or roller skates of any type are allowed in the park the entire weekend. Handicapped parking is available.

For more information, contact 484-225-8383, or visit [1]