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Musikfest set to bring 1 million visitors to Bethlehem

(Photo by Jonathan Davies) –

The 36th annual Musikfest doesn’t officially get underway until Friday at 5 p.m., but for those who can’t wait, the festival is having a preview night, tonight, featuring a main stage concert by the band Earth Wind and Fire.

After that, the 10 and a half day festival, will continue through Aug. 11 at sites around Bethlehem.

In its 36 years, Musikfest, which is the largest annual event organized by the Bethlehem arts organization, ArtsQuest, has helped develop the city as an arts and cultural destination.

“People come to the festival and they discover other things like shopping on Main Street and all of the restaurants,” said spokesman Mark Demko. “They see all of the great things the city has to come back and they come back at other times of the year.”

Because of the tourism draw both during the festival and throughout the rest of the year, Demko said ArtsQuest estimates that Musikfest has a more than $60 million economic impact on Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley at large.

This year the organizers expect around one million visitors to the city over the course of Musikfest, which has been the average for the last few years.

The visitors will find more than 400 musical performers from 27 states and five countries putting on more than 500 free shows.

There will be a new performance venue this year. Zinzenplatz will replace Experienceplatz, and will bring musical performances back to the venue. It will also host an arcade featuring pinball and other arcade games. The site will also feature Prismatica, a traveling art display featuring lighted prisms that has been touring the world.

Musikfest 2019 officially kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with opening ceremonies at Festplatz.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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