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With turnpike work rescheduled, bike night stays in place

Slatington Borough’s Main Street will once again host the fire department’s second-largest fundraiser after the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation rescheduled a major turnpike closure over the upcoming weekend.

The detour would have started Friday night and ended Monday morning, forcing the event to move to the fire company’s grounds.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeastern Extension I-476 construction has been postponed to the weekend of Oct. 13.

“Last Thursday PennDOT called and said we had to move bike night,” said borough Fire Chief Jason Nicholas.

“Route 873 would be the detour for the turnpike so people would be driving through Slatington. I tried to appeal it but it didn’t do any good.”

Nicholas said the department contacted the district’s state Rep. Zach Mako, who worked with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to allow for a one-day liquor permit on fire department grounds.

“On Main Street beer sales are handled by the Shack,” he said.

“But on Monday they decided to postpone the work. The turnpike engineer suggested I contact PennDOT again and I got the approval. It all happened within a half-hour’s time on Monday.”

Since the postponement was announced, the bike night fundraiser was able to remain in the historic business district from noon to 8 p.m.

The event will include vendors, a Chinese auction, bands and food stands will line the street between the 400 and 900 blocks to raise money for the department and partnering nonprofit organization, Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Association 53 North.

“This is our second-largest fundraiser next to our mail drive,” Nicholas said.

The department relies heavily on its fundraisers to supplement borough budget.

Throughout the day bands CA/CD, The Beautiful Distortion, Simple Sin, Mavis and the Monsters of Mayhem and The Fyre and Ice Show will take the Main Street stage. A car show from noon to 4 p.m. and beer specials will also be available.

“Beer sales will be from the Shack and new Homeslate bar. People can walk around and drink their beer,” Nicholas said.

“The Slatington police will be there as always,” he said.

Nicholas said, “So far there have been no arrests or emergences during bike night.”

Main Street will be closed for from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with limited to no parking on Second and Franklin streets.

“Official detour signs and fire police will be out to help people with the detour.”

Slatington Bike Night and Car Show was started in 2013 after the death of Milton J. “Bup” Greene the previous year. Greene had been a fire department member for more than three decades and served as treasurer for the department while he helped organize and run the annual carnival.

He was an active member of the community and served on borough council and Hose Company #1, the caretakers of the iconic Fireman statue and bell on Main Street.

Greene had also been a part of the Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Association 53 North.

The members of that organizations partner with the fire company every year to organize and run the free Saturday event.

“We have a good group of people who help organize it but we always make sure we have people available for calls just in case,” Nicholas said.