East Penn Press

Sunday, May 27, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY JOHANNA S. BILLINGS Saylor Cement Kilns is backdrop for 31st annual Coplay Community Days, Aug. 23 - 26. PRESS PHOTO BY JOHANNA S. BILLINGS Saylor Cement Kilns is backdrop for 31st annual Coplay Community Days, Aug. 23 - 26.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Funk and R&B band, Lucky 7, above, 6 p.m. Aug. 25, Coplay Community Days CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Funk and R&B band, Lucky 7, above, 6 p.m. Aug. 25, Coplay Community Days

Expanded Coplay Community Days welcomes residents of entire Valley

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by JOHANNA S. BILLINGS jbillings@tnonline.com in Focus

A group of community organizations are hoping for good weather Aug. 23 - 26.

But, even if it rains, the show will go on.

The "show" is Coplay Community Days, a festival featuring food, live music, contests, games, rides and bingo at Coplay Community Park, Second and Keefer streets, Coplay.

The weather is not expected to be a factor because virtually the entire festival takes place under cover.

Sponsors such as M&M Lawn Service and Service Electric are providing tents for various activities. Participants can also enjoy a nice covering of mature trees adjacent to the famous Saylor Cement Kilns and Ironton Rail-Trail.

"Every single penny goes back into the organizations and nonprofit groups," says Steve Burker, chairman of the Coplay Community Days festival, now in its 31st year.

Unlike more well-known Lehigh Valley events such as Musikfest, however, Coplay Community Days is 100 percent volunteer-run. No one gets paid for any of the work involved in setting up or running the festival.

Proceeds benefit community groups for which the event is a major fundraiser. Most of the groups will be selling food and festival organizers ask that visitors do not bring outside coolers.

"Everything is very affordable," says Burker, pointing out that parking and admission are free as is much of the entertainment.

The Coplay Town Watch will run a Chinese auction and the Coplay Public Library is hosting Middle Earth Traveling Family Theater in a "Kids Zone" sponsored by Miller Supply Ace Hardware of Northampton.

Rides are provided at nearby Saylor Field by Good Time Amusements.

Miller Supply has donated five $100 gift cards, which festival participants will have a chance to win during the event. Service Electric and 99.9 the Hawk are offering a chance to play their jackpot game of $99,000. The Hawk will broadcast live from the festival. Service Electric will broadcast the festival on Channels 2, 60 and 126 WTAP-Uncle Jeffrey.

Burker estimates the festival racks up more than $15,000 in expenses for rides, entertainment and prizes.

"We get a lot of sponsors," he says. "Without them there is no festival."

In addition to Service Electric, M&M Lawn and Miller Supply, sponsors include Gin Mill and Grille, Turczyn Vending, Samuel Owens Restaurant, Coors Light, the American Club of Coplay and Lehigh Valley Press.

Dubbed "the best end of summer festival in the Valley," Coplay Community Days takes place after Musikfest, Mayfair and before the Allentown Fair. There are concerts by the Aardvarks and Lucky 7, which play at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and other area music venues.

The festival began in 1981 as a way to honor local cement workers. Burker took over last year as chairman, expanding the two-day event to four days and adding a variety of attractions.

Among them are a hot wings eating contest with a $500 top prize and a karaoke contest with a $1,000 cash prize. Contestants have spent the last several weeks trying to win preliminary rounds for a chance to go for the top prize.

Judges for karaoke include musicians from bands performing at the festival along with Whitehall Township Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr., Coplay Mayor Joseph Bundra, Dieruff High School basketball coach Steve Gabryluk, M&M Lawn Service owner Danny Marakovits, and Dale Miller of Miller Supply Ace Hardware.

"When you're giving $1,000 out, you want to make sure there's no doubt that there's a clear winner," Burker says.

"We really do feel what we all do with the attractions and everything we have to offer is without a doubt the best end-of-summer festival," says Burker.