Friday, July 31, 2015

The 44th Annual Downtown Festival

The St Luke's Roman Catholic Church in Stroudsburg, PA held their two day 44th Annual Downtown Festival on July 25th and 26th. The church is located on the corner of the town's 9th and Main Streets and offered a variety of food and entertainment along with a book store, games of chance, and a huge flea market with every imaginable item for sale at exceedingly low prices. It was an excessively hot day but the friendliness of the vendors and those associated with the church cooled the festival's atmosphere to a pleasant temperature which made it all the more enjoyable.

Although the festival began at 10am, I arrived at the site around 2pm on Saturday July 25th. I spent a great deal of time exploring all the wares that was available for purchase throughout the festival's flea market until I made my way to the main stage where the students of Master Nam’s Martial Arts Center was giving demonstrations of their impressive skills in the form of Tae Kwon Do. The presentation provided a glimpse into the style which inspired many to explore learning the skills involved further by signing up for a class.

Master Nam’s Martial Arts Center was formed in 1985 by Grandmaster Sung Nam who is an 8th Degree Black Belt. The center is located on Route 611 just outside of Stroudsburg, PA. It offers classes in a number of fighting techniques associated with the Asian cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and others. You can learn more about Master Nam’s Martial Arts Center and the classes they offer by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

As Master Nam’s Martial Arts Center's presentation concluded, the next performer of the day took the stage. Brad Roccanova gave the festival a taste of Las Vegas through his classic interpretations of compositions associated with the big band and swing eras that were made popular by the likes of Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra. Mr. Roccanova's impeccable style and approach to each song he renders brings the audience into the magnificently adorned rooms of the luxurious casinos of Nevada regardless of the setting his concerts take place. This was especially true among those who attended the concert while sitting in the festival's food court where the stage was located, munching on the delicious foods that were offered, and admiring the purchases they made in the flea market.

Brad Roccanova is a crooner in the most classical and beloved sense of the term. The term itself is used to describe male singers of jazz standards who utilizes their voice and singing style to emphasize the emotional nuances of their songs. The impact Mr. Roccanova has on each rendition of the songs he performs brings their truths to the ear and heart of each listener. In addition to bringing his renderings to the gathering, he also shared the stage with some members of the audience so their songs could be heard. His next appearance will be at The Pocono Community Theatre and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA on Sunday August 16th. It would be a good idea to go. You can learn more about Brad Roccanova by exploring his Facebook Page at or his Website at

As Mr. Roccanova completed his exuberant performance at the 44th Annual Downtown Festival, the process of preparing the stage for the next grouping of musicians began. It was as The Christian Porter Band prepared themselves for their performance did I meander around the festival grounds to see what discoveries I could make that I may have missed during my earlier excursion. I've found a passageway to the basement of the church which I encountered a room filled with books and bake goods for sale along with a vigorous Bingo game going on. There were a great many things to peruse and observe while I was there and I did so until my desire to partake of the music The Christian Porter Band were about to play bade me to do so.

The Christian Porter Band consists of Regina Sayles on guitar, Vinny Bianchi on Saxophone, Bjarni Nermoe on Bass, Dave Parfitt on Drums, and Christian Porter on Guitar and Lead Vocals. With each musician recognized for his/her talent in their own rite, the blending of their skills and musical insights enhanced the qualities of each rendition of the song they played. Their repertoire included a number of compositions written by other more well know individuals along with some original works. However, regardless of the source of their material, every song was sung as if it originated from the soul of the band. Yet, there was a special quality of the work composed by the band which was as unique as it was superbly rendered to an appreciative audience who eagerly awaited the revelation of each note as it was played.

The music the Christian Porter Band performed was lively as it inspired a number of audience members to move to its rhythms and beats. This was especially evident among the young children who danced together with the glee associated with their age. Their spontaneous routines brought a joy to the heart which enhanced the Band's performance even further. In fact, some “grown ups” began to shed their inhibitions in order to demonstrate their ability to move with the music to the delight of all who watched them. You can learn more about The Christian Porter Band by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

It was after The Christian Porter Band's performance did the vendors and other individuals begin closing up shop for the day. It was a great day for music and other offerings the festival made available to those who came to partake of its wonders. As mentioned earlier, I only attended the first day of the event during the later part of the day. There was more to see during the second day as well as the earlier part of Saturday. If you have any photographs of those times, please feel free to share them. In the meantime, you'll find more photographs take during the day in the 44th Annual Downtown Festival Gallery at

The Church of Saint Luke in Stroudsburg, PA was founded in 1968 as a parish Church to serve the needs of the growing community of Stroudsburg, PA and its environs. The parish was established by The Most Reverend J. Carroll McCormick, D. D., who was the Bishop of Scranton, PA at that time. The Roman Catholic Church has served the community since 1952 when it was first constructed as a mission Church of St. Mathew's parish in East Stroudsburg, PA and presently serves the spiritual needs of more than 6,000 individual members throughout the region which included over 1800 families. You'll learn more about The Church of Saint Luke and all they have to offer the community by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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