Spent the day in Bethlehem’s south side. Today was the day for the Cops n Kids celebration and the Spring festival by many names… Spring on the Southside, Spring on 4th, What’s on 3rd, Chilifest, Opening day of festival season…. It was a cloudy and rainy day. The last time it rained on the festival was nine years ago. Crowds were a bit smaller, but the spirit was still full.
I checked in on some of my students in the early part of the festival. I renewed my annual membership at the Puerto Rican Society.
For the first time in ten years, I didn’t work the festival. I spent most of the time with my kids’ performances at the Cops n Kids. Festivals are where lots of people come together. It’s usually where I get reminded of how interconnected our community is. It’s great to reconnect with people I haven’t seen for years, or just saw a month ago.
While I was there, one of my students made it to the Cops n Kids area. After we talked a bit, Mayor Donchez walked by. He was generous with his time and very open to sharing some perspectives with the student. It’s wonderful to see him engaging with the community.
There were new chili judges this year. With a few returning to show the new guys the ropes, it was great to see the Chief of Police, Mark DiLuzio join the ranks, along with the editor of the Brown and White. Two other new judges were also media guys; but I will protect their names until they wish to be known. Not that it’s a serious break of confidentiality, but more of respect for the people who give up their time and stomachs to the cause.
These festivals don’t run without hundreds of volunteers committing to service. These festivals are successful when local businesses sponsor them, professionals contribute their expertise, and folks support and participate in them.
What I’m seeing are so many people who love the community. And give their time more out of joy than obligation.
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