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Palmerton festival gets green light

The nonprofit organizations have spoken, and the fate of this year’s Palmerton Community Festival has been decided.

Thanks to enough show of support, the 31st annual event will go on as originally scheduled, according to Susie Arner, event chairwoman.

“A final decision was reached this afternoon,” Arner said. “It required at least 50 percent; we were able to reach exactly 50 percent.”

As a result, the festival will run Sept. 11-13 in the borough park. Hours will be 5-9 p.m. Sept. 11, 11-9 Sept. 12, and noon to 7 Sept. 13.

However, Arner stressed there will be no rides, no craft tent, no bingo tent and no live entertainment.

The decision to hold this year’s event comes after nonprofit organizations were given one week from last Thursday’s festival committee meeting to decide if they wanted to hold this year’s event.

“Those people who have chosen to participate, I hope it’s a huge success for them, and I hope that everyone in attendance will be respectful and work hard to maintain social distancing as much as possible, wearing masks when just walking around the park, and just in general be polite and respectful of all the volunteers at nonprofit stands and employees of commercial vendors who are part of the festival.”

Arner noted that some of the nonprofit organizations expressed concerns, but assured the festival committee will do its part to ensure social distancing measures will be practiced.

“Many of the people who chose not to participate were concerned for their own personal volunteers and the health risk it might pose if they were to work at a stand at the festival,” she said. “We are going to work hard at continuing to utilize the whole park, facing the stands further apart than usual, and further off the macadam walkway than usual to allow lines of customers to make as best attempt as possible social distancing while in line.”

The nonprofit organizations who plan to attend, with their offerings:

• HALO (Helping Area Local Organizations - gyros.

• Palmerton Lions Club - waffles and ice cream

• St. John’s Lutheran Church - hot dogs, hamburgers and special burgers

• Holy Trinity Lutheran Church - molasses tongue cookies, homemade mint ice tea

• S.S. Palmer/Parkside PTO - homemade crepes

• Towamensing Elementary School PTO - homemade macaroni and cheese and shrimp corn chowder

• Palmerton Wrestling Parents - roast beef sandwiches

• Towamensing Soccer - grilled chicken sandwiches, salads with grilled chicken, meatball sandwiches

• Palmerton Swim Team - steamed clams

• Franklin Township Fire Company - sausage sandwiches

• Lehighton Lioness Club - milkshakes

Additionally, Arner said commercial vendors will also be on hand to sell french fries, chicken fingers, pierogies, batter dipped vegetables, corn on the cob, halupkis, stuffed peppers, funnel cakes, specialty coffees, elephant ears, and more.

For early risers, she said there will be some breakfast offerings Sept. 12-13, with the specifics to follow.

Other organizations:

• The Zinc City Motorcycle will offer games of chance.

• Bethany Wesleyan Church will have an information stand.

• Living Hope Lighthouse Church will have an outreach event to benefit the Palmerton community, with details to follow.

• St. Luke’s University Health Network will have health information and demonstration.

• Lehigh Valley Health Network will be manning a first aid tent and providing health information and health education material.

Arner discussed the many safety precautions that will be in place.

“In the interest of everyone’s health, all stands have been instructed on the current local regulations for this type of event by our local health officer,” she said. “We also will have more areas for hand-washing and hand sanitizing stations. There will be signs posted throughout the park (to encourage) people to please attempt to social distance, but (note that) social distancing is your own personal responsibility.

Arner added, “Be respectful of everyone around you, be an adult, be a responsible person. Although we are not required to wear masks, we strongly encourage people to wear them or have them on them to wear them at various times when they encounter multiple people in the park. We are just trying to educate you in the best interest of you and everyone else that is attending.”

Arner added that the information booth will still continue to be in the middle of the park located next to the middle bridge, but that they will not be having the treasure chest drawing this year.

She said in the event patrons would like to bring their own containers to get food, to go or ask the stands to package the food to go, the stands will be prepared and more than willing to do that for them.

“If Carbon County would roll back into the yellow phase, we will be canceling the event immediately.” Arner said. “We’ll be back next year hopefully bigger and better.”