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West End Celebration Fest features food, music, fireworks

July 4 festivities are starting a day early at the fairgrounds in Gilbert.

The West End Celebration Fest is Friday from 4 to 9 p.m.

“We wanted to have an event outside to give the community a chance to come see fireworks, get something to eat and listen to music,” said Dale “Peanut” Greenzweig Jr., president of the West End Fair committee.

After making the difficult decision to cancel this year’s fair amid the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, the committee wanted to plan and host a few smaller-scale events for the community.

Friday’s event is the first one.

“It costs $10 per carload, no matter how many people are packed in a vehicle,” Greenzweig said.

There is a stage set up with pallets painted to look like American flags, a wagon wheel and lanterns on hay bales. Picnic tables have been spread out to maintain social distancing. Masks are preferred.

There is a large area in front of the stage for mingling and dancing. There are hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer pumps throughout the event area.

If attendees do not feel comfortable being outside among the crowds, they may remain in their vehicle and hear the bands through the radio, Greenzweig said.

Jeni Hackett will play from 4-6 p.m.

“Performing and interacting with a live audience is probably the thing I’m most excited about,” she said.

This is her third public performance since the shutdown. She will do a mix of covers, originals and patriotic tunes, she said.

The Brian Dean Moore Band will perform country music covers and originals from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

There will be a variety of food trailers and a wine vendor.

The options include pizza, pretzels, hamburgers, hot dogs, cold beverages, walking tacos, French fries and desserts.

The Western Pocono Women’s Club is selling strawberry shortcake.

The $5 dessert includes strawberries, sponge cake and whipped cream.

“For an extra dollar, they can go to the stand aside of us and they will put on a scoop of ice cream,” said club President Pam Borger.

She is referring to Doug and Cherie Swink’s Frozen in Tyme treats trailer, which has ice cream and milkshakes.

Blue Ridge Winery will sell glasses of wine.

The celebration also includes a basket raffle and 50/50 drawing.

Shooting Star Fireworks, based in the Lehigh Valley, will provide the display around 9:30.

“I can’t wait for Friday - for everything,” said Patricia Mackes, member of the fair committee and the women’s club. “I want to eat, look at all the tricky tray items, hear the music and see the fireworks display.”

Borger said other small-scale events in the discussion phase are a Fall Fest and Winter Fest, which would be organized by the fair committee; and a Fall firemen’s carnival hosted by four local fire departments - Polk, Kunkletown, West End and Blue Ridge.

“We hope to do these things, but it depends on what is occurring with the coronavirus,” said Borger, who is one of 36 fair directors and on the celebration committee.

Pam Borger, a member of the West End Celebration Fest committee, adjusts the wagon wheel in front of the stage where Jeni Hackett will perform from 4-6 p.m. and the Brian Dean Moore Band will play 6:30-9 p.m. on Friday. The event will include food, wine, fireworks, 50/50 drawing and basket raffle. It costs $10 per carload. STACI L. GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
To comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, event organizers have spread out tables and placed hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer pumps around the event area. Masks are preferred and social distancing is encouraged. Attendees who prefer to stay in their cars will be able to hear performances by Jeni Hackett and Brian Dean Moore Band through their radio.