Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Stroudfest 9 Stroudsburg 200

On the first weekend of September in the year 2015, a celebration emerged throughout the town of Stroudsburg, PA from the careful planning of several groups, individuals, and businesses that are associated with the borough. Although this weekend presented the 9th Annual Stroudfest which honors everything relating to the town, a special joyous element was added to the annual festival. This element was the town's Bicentennial (1815 – 2015) which commemorated the borough's founding by it's namesake Jacob Stroud 200 years ago. The celebration included numerous concerts featuring a wide variety of musical styles and genres, Art and Fashion shows, special events, vendors galore (over 100 of them), and a fireworks display.

The festivities began at town's The Sherman Theater who presented a free concert on Friday September 4th that was sponsored by First Keystone Community Bank It featured the Trinity Bicentennial Band as led by Karl McDannell along with the newly formed Pocono Local Vocals as led by Bob Ridday. The theater filled with music lovers as the orchestra and choir were preparing their selections for the evening. A quiet anticipation filled the venue as Stroudsburg's Borough Manager, Cathryn C. Thomas (who is a member of the band), blessed the microphone with her welcoming remarks along with some insights relating to the evening's performance. Her words were followed by the appearance of a gentleman from the orchestra who served as the band's narrator and whose name I, unfortunately, neglected to get. It was after his opening words did the conductor lift his baton to entreat the first notes of the first composition from the musical assemblage.

The concert consisted of a wide variety of music from a plethora of sources including Broadway Musicals, Irving Berlin compositions, and songs written by the Beatles. The orchestra and chorus also presented several special pieces which were written and dedicated to Stroudsburg, PA by the late Fred Waring who presented a National Radio Program during the early days of audio broadcasting. The performance concluded with a rousing rendering of a a piece composed by John Phillip Sousa titled, “Stars and Strips Forever” which was greeted by a standing ovation and a call for an encore. However, since the orchestra and choir has exhausted their repertoire for the evening, the well performed concert came to an end inspiring those who left the theater to return the following day to enjoy the offerings of the continued celebration.

The Trinity Centennial Band is comprised of amateur and professional musicians from the Pocono area and was founded in 1992. The Pocono Local Vocals is a forty person choir consisting of members of the community who love to sing. You can learn more about The Trinity Centennial Band by exploring their Facebook Page at

As the morning sun approached its zenith on Saturday September 5th, a wonderful balance of the heat of a Summer Day and the coolness of an Autumnal breeze filled the day. I traveled to town by foot which afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the magnificence of Stroudfest even before I stepped upon the main street of Stroudsburg. When I did, I came across the festival's Bicentennial Stage where I was met by Stroudsburg's Borough Manager, Cathryn C. Thomas, and former educator, William Weitzman, who were dressed in period costumes while sharing information with those who came to acquire about the town's history. It was after my chat with these individuals did I venture to the stage where the DayBreak Musical Group were preparing for their performance of the day. However, the call of the festival created a desire to explore other aspects of the event so I left before they began their set.

I strolled along the aisles of produce and other vendors who were a part of the weekly Monroe Farmer's Market which takes place in the town's courthouse square every Saturday from 8am until noon. The offerings of local businesses were expanded upon for the festival and their plentiful array of produce, bakery goods, wines, and other items enticed the crowd to partake of their wares. They included Rolling Hills Farm Garlic Vinegar, The Stone Oven at Apple Ridge Farm, OHF Orchards, and The Blue Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery

My stroll through the Farmer's Market led me to the food court area where cuisine from every imaginable variety could be found. The mouthwatering aromas and sights filled the senses as music touched the ear as it was being performed on The Sarah Street Grill Stage by The Wallace Brothers whose country flavors delighted to crowd. It was during their performance did I venture into The PoconoArts Cultural Center to view their A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words: Narrative Art Exhibit whose Artists' Reception would take place later in the day. It was good to be among the work in the quietness of the gallery before those who would seek to explore their wonders populated the venue. I then roamed the streets of Stroudsburg and encountered a wide variety of vendors who joyfully offered their wares to passerbys. These included members of the Notre Dame Spartans (a female soccer team) selling cupcakes to benefit the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center, The Perfect Match, Artist George Shortess, Eleve Dance Theater, Busy Beehive Giftware and Apparel 610-683-5255, Timeless Petals, NEPA Community Federal Credit Union, Vi Vi Body Work 570-421-7086, The Theater Studio: A Confidence Theater, Melon Gift, Rockn Willy's Tea and Hookah Lounge, and The Dog House

During my travels, I stopped by The SOHO in the BURG Gallery who will have their delicious Art รก la Carte Exhibition on display until September 30th. I also came upon a fashion show that was being presented by Dawn of New York titled, “Beauty Against Bullies” to inspire more awareness of the issue. The event not only showcased the clothing sold in the venue but also invited members of the audience to strut their stuff upon the runway.

I eventually left the fashion show and returned to the Sarah Street Grill Stage as the Bobby Syvarth Combo were performing. It was after a while did I go toward the Bicentennial Stage who were having a free Ice Cream Social along with a performance given by The Joyful Noises Barbershop Quartet I then returned once again to the Sarah Street Grill Stage to watch more of the Bobby Syvarth Combo. As their set concluded, I meandered around the town to revisit many of the sites I've experienced earlier that day along with discovering some new ones.

One of these newer sites I visited that day was the Living Room/Rock Hard Studios Stage who presented South Of The Peak I then made my way back to the Bicentennial Stage as Ted Satterwaithe was performing. There was a pause in the performance as Monroe County Commissioner, Suzanne McCool, presented Stroudsburg's Borough Manager, Cathryn C. Thomas, with a special plaque in honor of the town's 200th Anniversary. After a heartfelt applause given by all who were present, Mr. Satterwaithe continued to woo the gathering with his wonderful renditions of the songs he sang. I then left the area to return to the Sarah Street Grill Stage to experience the sounds of Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why

After I spent some time experiencing the magical spells indicative of Reggae musical genre that was embodied in their performance, I returned to The PoconoArts Cultural Center who was in the midst of holding the Artists' Reception for their Picture's Worth a Thousand Words: Narrative Art Exhibit. The beauty of the work was enhanced by the conversation shared among the modest gathering of art lovers. The exhibit also featured the commemorative paintings of local businesses done by local artists in celebration of the town's centennial. The project was initiated by St' Art Stroudsburg who had also added two murals to the artistic landscape of the borough and were available to be seen in their completed state that day.

The Picture's Worth a Thousand Words: Narrative Art Exhibit was a juried one with prize money going out to those who were judged to be the best of the wonderful work that was presented. The third place award went to Gordon Perry for his piece titled, “The Turning Point - Gettysburg,” second place went to Claire Marcus for her piece titled, “Highline Hide and Seek,” and first place went to Chris Sparling for her work titled, “Camping Reflections.” After the awards were rendered, the exhibit's judge, George Shortess, congratulated the recipients and shared insights on how the winning pieces were selected. It was soon after this did the company share their congratulatory sentiments and fond adieus with one another.

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center is part of The PoconoArts Council which is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through the center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. The Picture's Worth a Thousand Words: Narrative Art continues to be on display until September 26th. Their next exhibition will be their Artists in Education Exhibition to be held in their ARTSPACE Gallery. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday October 2nd beginning at 5pm with the work continuing to be on display until October 24th. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center and all it has to offer the creative community by exploring The PoconoArts Council Facebook Page at or their Website at

As I left The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center, the time for the much anticipated Fireworks display to celebrate the town's 200th Birthday was quickly approaching. I decided to explore the town once again before the explosive event occurred just for fun. I came across the Origins Gallery who was holding an open house. Artists and those who aspire to explore their creative talents were encouraged to do so through a number of activities the venue offered. The relaxed and congenial environment of the gallery inspired many to open their aesthetic hearts to the talents that laid within. The Origins Gallery recently showed their BAMBIENT Exhibition featuring the work of Bradley Allen McCool Bartholomew (aka Brad). It continued to be on display until September 6th. The next exhibition to be presented at the gallery will be their Organique Exhibition featuring the debut of the Once Upon A Fairy Fall collection. The Artist's Reception is scheduled for Saturday September 12th beginning at 6pm. Special musical guest to perform during the Reception is yet to be decided upon. The exhibit will remain on display until September 20th.

I left the gallery and turned left at the corner of 6th and Main. I walked a few steps and met a number of people standing on the sidewalk in front of an abandoned lot as the first popping of the fireworks commenced. The dimming sunset of the Stroudsburg sky were soon ablaze with the spectacular show the borough had provided its citizens. The missiles were set off from atop of the Monroe County Municipal Parking Deck which afforded everyone a wonderful view from a wide area. The pyrotechnics were plentiful, colorful, and very loud. In other words, they were great.

It was as the fireworks display was descending toward its final fizzles did I endeavored to leave the festival and make my way home. I bade farewell to my sidewalk comrades as well as those I've met up with or met during the day. It was a fun day and I look forward to next year's Stroudfest. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, you’ll find more photographs taken during the 9th Annual Stroudfest Event in The Stroudfest 9 Stroudsburg 200 Gallery at

Although I (like many others who were present throughout the day) endeavored to experience the entire festival, I was unable to due to the vastness of the event and the numerous activities that transpired. Yet, their participation during the day bears mentioning as they added to the awesome quality of the event.
These participants included the Potting Shed who presented 68 Artisans on Ann St., The Monroe County Historical Association who hosted their 7th Annual Olde Time Fun at the Stroud Mansion, and a Time Capsule Burial Ceremony. I also didn't have the opportunity to experience the music created by several bands and other musical ensembles that played throughout the day. They included The JM Hill Chorus and SUZE who performed on The Sarah Street Grill Stage, Jettison, The Set Up, Better Days, Statues and Stories, Red Pandas, Gracie Mansion, and Cascavel who performed on The Living Room/Rock Hard Studios Stage, Kathy Tynemouth and the JM Hill student Chorus along with Old Time Songs Sing-along (hosted by Suzanne McCool) who performed on The Bicentennial Stage, and Perla Solano, The Don Mayer Blues Band, The Matt Abell Trio, and Adam Jacob who performed on The Brite Cleaner Stage which is one of the many sites I didn't ventured to.

The 9
th Annual Stroudfest event was organized and presented by the Sherman Theater (which is celebrating 10 years of serving the community) as one of the festivals it formulated which is designed to honor the town of Stroudsburg, PA. Sponsors of Stroudfest 2015 included numerous local businesses who support the town and its endeavors. In addition to Stroudfest the theater presents numerous concerts, theatrical productions, and other events throughout the year. You can learn more about The Sherman Theater and all it has to offer the community by exploring their their Website at and their Facebook Page at

According to Wikipedia and the Monroe County Historical Society, Stroudsburg is a borough in Monroe County, PA at the confluence of the Brodhead, McMichaels, and Pocono Creeks and serves as the county seat.. The town is part of the East Stroudsburg, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area which in turn is part of the New York metropolitan area. Stroudsburg is the only traditional downtown in the area with more than 24 restaurants, 9 art galleries, 3 women’s clothing stores, numerous antique stores, several general merchandisers, many specialty shops, 2 hotels, the local YMCA, 11 financial institutions, and the core of the legal profession in Monroe County. Downtown Stroudsburg also features a wide tree lined Main Street with historically rich architecture.

Stroudsburg was laid out by Col. Jacob Stroud in 1799. Col. Stroud was born in New Jersey in 1735 and was raised in Smithfield Township. At the age of 21, he enlisted as a private in the French and Indian War. In 1775, he enlisted in the War for Independence as a captain and rose to the rank of colonel. After the war, he became a successful businessman and bought a great deal of land which included property owned by Peter LaBar upon which most of Stroudsburg is founded on. In 1776, he was elected as a member of the Constitutional Congress. By 1779, Mr. Stroud began to develop the town of Stroudsburg in earnest by selling plots of land. It is reported that when Jacob Stroud died in 1804 he owned 4,000 acres of land. Stroudsburg, PA was officially incorporated as a borough on February 6th, 1815. You can learn more about Stroudsburg, PA by exploring their Facebook Page at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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