NEW BETHLEHEM – After announcing a week earlier that this year’s Peanut Butter Festival in New Bethlehem would be condensed into a one-day festival, members of the Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce met again last week to begin plans for the Saturday, Sept. 19 event.
Due to the pandemic, and questions on pre-festival sponsorships and fundraising, chamber members said the one-day festival would allow for the event to take place this year, with as many of the traditional events as possible.
Organizers said last week they are planning to start the day at 8 a.m. with the 5K race. Vendors will open along Water Street and in Gumtown Park at 9 a.m.
The annual mountain bike race will also be held, starting at 10:30 a.m.
A representative from the Knight Cruisers car club was on hand at last week’s meeting. He said the car cruise would be held on that Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and that it could accommodate 350 to 400 cars.
The tractor show will also take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With the inability to have the inflatable carnival and other activities for children, chamber member Austin Blose said he plans to organize a Power Wheels obstacle course somewhere on the festival grounds from 1 to 3 p.m.
If the group’s permit to PennDOT to close Route 28/66 (Broad Street) is approved, members said that there still could be a parade held at 3 p.m. If the parade is held, officials said, the prizes this year would consist of trophies, and not money.
The evening’s entertainment at the park stage would be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and could possibly feature the Wrangler Band.
The evening would be capped off by the fireworks display at 9 p.m.
Chamber officials said that when it comes to vendors, they would first offer spots to those who set up at the festival last year. They decided to drop the traditional set-up fee since the festival was going to a one-day event. Instead, vendors will be asked to pay a $25 security and electricity fee, and then be asked to consider making a donation to the chamber at the end of the day if they had a successful event.
Chamber members said that in light of the current economic conditions, they did not feel comfortable sending out letters to businesses to ask for sponsorships and donations for the festival. While donations are being accepted from anyone wishing to do so, member Gordon Barrows said he would look for one or two large sponsors to help cover the costs of the day.
Officials said they intended to keep the festival going this year in order to help out the local non-profits that raise money at the event, and to give the community a boost during hard times. They also noted that the festival will adhere to CDC guidelines and recommendations at the time.