Washington, D.C., has its National Memorial Day Parade, Philadelphia marks the occasion with Penn’s Landing Waterfront Day, and in 2018, for the first time, northeast Pennsylvania observed the entire Memorial Day holiday weekend with The Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration, or PennMArt for short.
Sponsored by Pennsylvania’s Music Preservation Society (PAMPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the second-annual 2019 event will be held again at the historic Allentown Fairgrounds May 25, 26 and 27, to remember and honor through traditional Pennsylvania music, culture and arts, the men and women who have served and died in the U.S. military.
The Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration is unique in its support of veterans and veterans’ groups, and in its programming each year to foster remembrance and celebrate the region’s rich military history. The Celebration also is unique for the quality and variety of its free musical programming. The headliners and all other bands and performing groups selected each year have their roots in Pennsylvania, and reflect the state’s rich and diverse musical genres that cut across generations and nationalities.
The 2019 performers will include folk, rock & roll, polka, bluegrass, Celtic, Latino, and our own version of a WWII USO show. We also plan to showcase young musicians and dancers who will be picked competitively from area schools. The annual Artists Market will feature works and demonstrations by some of Pennsylvania’s finest artisans, including noted quilter Carole Dorr. Food will be provided by some of the area’s best food trucks. Attendees will get to sample some special offerings at each food truck and vote for their favorites.
This year there will be even more child-friendly activities throughout the weekend.
Much of this year’s festivities will be inside the spacious Agri-Plex building at the Allentown Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds is the perfect venue, making the celebration wonderfully handicapped accessible, and providing loads of close-by free parking and indoor programming where the public is sheltered from whatever inclement weather nature has to offer.
Photos by Hub Willson