Carbon County is best known for the quaint, humble and historic town of Jim Thorpe, but throughout the county there other towns looking to revitalize and attract people to their downtowns.
In early 2015, Jared McEvoy and a few others were approached to bring back to life the Lehighton Downtown Initiative, a nonprofit that once thrived in the borough but eventually disbanded.
“We were approached to reform the group and help our local community have more events in the town, but also to take a look at other ways to improve the community,” said McEvoy, president of LDI.
“We want to provide events for our community members and families, but we also want to be involved in the process of revitalizing the town through improved visual appeal, helping current businesses prosper and creating opportunities for new business to be successful.”
With a staff of seven volunteers, LDI is looking toward building a brighter future for Downtown Lehighton, with strong motivation and incentive to making the town a better place to live and raise a family.
One of LDI’s newly created events is this weekend’s Rocktoberfest, a two-day festival in Lehighton’s two downtown parks, created to honor breast cancer awareness. The adjacent parks are situated between First and Third streets and bordered by North and South streets.
“October is well known for its awareness of breast cancer … and we felt that it would be a worthwhile event for a great cause that hopefully becomes a tradition that we can carry on,” McEvoy said.
He said the community is hungry for more events that families and community members can enjoy without having to spend a lot of money. He said the organization’s goal for this weekend is to bring awareness to breast cancer, but while doing so hoping that the community will be able to enjoy a fun-filled day in its backyard.
“We have some downtown businesses that are sponsoring the event, and proceeds are going to be donated to a local group, so that we know the funds will make a true impact for the people within our community, as well,” McEvoy said.
The festival – admission is free – features 10 bands, craft and food vendors and a beer and wine garden where art, food and drink may be bought.
“This is the first year that we’re doing this event, and we wanted to create something new that will highlight the two beautiful parks in our downtown,” he said. “One of our parks has a fantastic amphitheater, and we wanted to showcase that, as well.”
The organization is hoping to make it an annual event, adding to its already fun-filled calendar of events.
“We have movie nights, free community swim days at the pool and free family bowling nights,” McEvoy said. “LDI will also be heavily involved in the three-day Christmas event in the park, and we’re also working on a local farmers market that will be held every Saturday in the park.”
He said that in the near future, LDI plans to work with Lehighton Borough Council to improve the visual appearance of the downtown as well as work on “recruiting businesses to invest in a downtown that is on the verge of massive growth.”
Rocktoberfest kicks off at noon Saturday and will run until 10 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 6 p.m.
• Damian Walck (lower park): Noon-4 p.m.
• Mike Stanley (amphitheater): Noon-2 p.m.
• Hats (amphitheater): 2-4 p.m.
• Psyd-Fx (amphitheater): 4-6 p.m.
• Dave Shiffert (lower park): 4-5:30 p.m.
• Blunt (amphitheater): 7:30-10 p.m.
• Jean & The American Dream (amphitheater): Noon-2 p.m.
• Asialena (lower park): 1-4 p.m.
• Bedlam Blues (amphitheater): 2-4 p.m.
• November Lounge (amphitheater): 4-6 p.m.
• Coaster racing on Saturday starting at noon (boxcar style racing).
• Pumpkin painting.
• Tricky tray (Chinese auction).
• Cut-a-thon by the Styling Zone (hair donations will be given to Wigs for Kids).
• Crafters, artists and direct-sales vendors.