Annual Gathering draws crowds to Slatington
The unofficial yearly Slatington reunion, The Gathering, took place Saturday with familiar faces and a few new stands during the unseasonably warm afternoon.
“I come every year. It’s where old friends meet new friends,” said Jeff Kistler.
“It’s about just hooking up with old friends you haven’t seen in a year. Everyone says, ‘See you next year at the Gathering,’ It’s like a reunion with multiple generations who come out.”
Kistler highlighted the Sons of the American Legion’s cheesesteaks as his favorite afternoon snack before the Seventh Street party began.
“At 9 a.m., this place will be hopping,” he said.
“We have good weather and a lot of people showed up to see old friends and have a good time,” said borough Mayor Walter Niedermeyer.
“The kids are having fun and enjoying the hay rides,” he said.
Harold Rauch of Walnutport drove his 1952 Case tractor, towing a trailer of hay and children.
“My father worked for the company and we used to farm with Case tractors. We had a lot of farming in New Tripoli. I’m a Case man, it’s in my blood,” Rauch said.
Rauch was asked to run the family-friendly trip by fellow Slatington Lions Club members.
The ride took kids from the newly built pavilion along the picturesque trail to the overpass before turning around.
“Last year we couldn’t do it because the bridge was under construction,” said Rauch, a lifelong farmer.
Sobeida Cordon said she brings her family to the trail every year for the Gathering.
“I come in the afternoon for the kids to enjoy it. It’s something different to do on a Saturday afternoon,” she said.
Members of the Northern Lehigh Recreation Authority were at the Covered Bridge with a speed pitch contest where 12-year-old Alexander Jimenez took first place with a 63 mph pitch.
“It’s something for the kids to do,” authority director Michael Kukitz said.
“All the Boy Scouts were over here heckling each other and egging each other on,” he said.
“We are here trying to get the word out about all the new things that are taking place in the community and thinking about how we can be more involved next year,” he said.
The annual basket raffle had more than a dozen locally donated baskets lining the trail head’s covered bridge.
Several baskets contained wine and spirits, sweet treats, handmade quilts and knickknacks.
Biergarten volunteers Linda Kistler and Carey Ann Serfass of Slatington said they both threw their raffle tickets in for the booze baskets.
“It’s a beautiful day, we’ve had a lot of people,” Kistler said.
A soon to be open coffeehouse, The Fire Escape, was at the Gathering selling caramel apple muffins, brownies, peach bars and cookies to raise money for the renovations to its Palmerton-based nonprofit venture.
Former Slatington residents Laura Coulson and Laura Gildner represented the proposed community-based organization.
The Fire Escape Coffee House was created to help gather funding for local ministries, charities that work toward assisting the hungry, homeless and drug and alcohol addicted, according to Coulson and Gildner.
“All the baking was done by the board members. It really pulled a lot of people together,” Gildner said.
Boy Scout Troop 58 sold baked macaroni and cheese during the afternoon leading up to the annual Duck Race.
Local bands Hydraulic Lime and Beautiful Oblivion, entertained the crowd before the closing fireworks at 10 p.m.
The popular Saturday event has been organized by the Venture Group since 2004 with proceeds raised for trail maintenance and for the 110th Halloween parade at the end of October.