It’s a full on block party as Cracker lead Downtown Reading into the home opener of the Reading Royals.
The party begins at 3 p.m. in the 700 block of Penn Street on Saturday, October 19th. Local Band Talk Louder! performs at 3:30 p.m. with Cracker taking stage at 5:00 p.m.

Known for radio hits like “Low,” “Teen Angst,” and “Euro-Trash Girl,” Cracker have been rocking eardrums since 1990. Cracker mix influences and sounds from rock, punk, grunge, psychedelia, country, blues and folk. More than just the music, Cracker is a group of survivors. Cofounders David Lowery and John Hickman have been with Cracker through every iteration of the band and appear on all 10 studio albums.

Despite changes to the band and the music industry at large, Cracker continue to grow in popularity. Their double album, Berkley to Bakersfield, was able to capture the attention of both country and rock fans alike. Invoking the drive down the The Golden State coast, The Berkley album is influenced by punk and garage, while the Bakersfield album leans toward the band’s “California country” side.

The concerts block party atmosphere will be accompanied by food trucks, alcoholic beverages for adults and an expected appearance of Slapshot for kids. Vendors include Sly Fox, Pagoda Cafe, Mi Casa Su Casa, Sammy’s Steaks and French Fries, Santander Arena and the Reading Distilling Guild.

Coming To Downtown Reading Next Week! The Revolution -- Prince's Former Band!


The Revolution, Prince's former band, will be here Wednesday, August 14 as part of the free outdoor Downtown Alive concert series! Catch the show in a festival atmosphere in the 500 block of Penn Street. Things kick off at 5 p.m. and include food and beverages for sale from a variety of vendors. It's a family-friendly event so bring the kids! You can get more information at

Tomorrow Night's Downtown Alive Concert Moving Indoors!

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Wednesday night's location for the Local H/Anthrophobia free concert has changed to Santander Performing Arts Center at 136 North Sixth Street in Reading. Once again, the major threat of inclement weather led to the decision to move the show indoors. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the show concert will start at 6 p.m. Because of the venue change, our regular food and beverage vendors will not be available. However, the Arts Center will have food and beverages for sale.

We have again arranged for free parking for the concert at the Poplar and Walnut Streets garage near the Arts Center. You will need to pull a ticket to enter the garage but the exit gates will be open when you leave. The free parking will be available starting at 4 p.m. tomorrow (7/17). Please note that this is a heavily-used garage during the day and that it would be best to wait after 5 p.m. to allow for regular users to depart for the day, thereby freeing up spaces. Because free parking is now available at this location, there won't be free parking at the Fourth and Cherry Streets garage.

We'd like to extend a special thanks to SMG for accommodating us for this concert at the Arts Center, and the Reading Parking Authority for providing free parking at the garage.

Local h & anthrophobia team up for next downtown alive show!

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They may be a two-man band, but Local H packs a powerful punch. And Reading will feel the full force of their alt-rock act this Wednesday (July 17) for our third free Downtown Alive outdoor concert! Find out what drives this duo in this feature article in the Reading Eagle.

 Opening for Local H will be local alt-rock mainstay Anthrophobia.

 As usual, things will kick off at 5 p.m. in the 500 block of Penn Street, which will be filled with food and drink vendors and kids activities.

 In case of severe inclement weather, we've made arrangements to move the concert to the Santander Performing Arts Center. We'll give folks as much advance notice as possible if we decide to go inside.

 And don't forget these other Downtown Alive concerts coming up:

 August 14 -- The Revolution, Prince's former band

September 18 -- Southern Culture On The Skids

October 19 -- To Be Announced Soon! (Part of the Reading Royals hockey opening day festivities in the 700 block of Penn Street)

Change In Location For A Flock of Seagulls Concert!

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The location for the Downtown Alive free concert featuring A Flock of Seagulls on Wednesday (June 19) has changed to Santander Performing Arts Center at 136 North Sixth Street in Reading. The major threat of inclement weather led to the decision to move the show indoors. Please spread the word about the location change! For more information, go to

The Revolution -- Prince's Former Band -- Will Rock Reading With A Free Downtown Alive Concert on August 14!


If you love the music of Prince — and who doesn’t?! — then you won’t want to miss our Downtown Alive free concert on August 14 featuring The Revolution, Prince’s former band! Find out what all the buzz is about with this show in our latest newsletter here. Also featured in this edition is another free Downtown Alive show on July 17 headlined by Local H with opening act Anthrophobia.

Reading Parking Authority Planning Upgrades and Improvements


The Reading Parking Authority has announced several upgrades and improvements via the following press release:

The Reading Parking Authority (RPA) has initiated upgrades, renovations and capital expenditures to provide its customers with a better parking experience. Future and current changes include:

• Painting to provide a brighter, cleaner environment

• Upgrading to brighter and longer-lasting lights

• Rehabbing and reinforcement of concrete surfaces, which will also provide a smoother ride

• Adding state-of-the art technology at the gates for faster, easier access

• Upgrading credit card payment capabilities for monthly lease payments and at the gates for visitors

• Upgrading payment kiosks at stairwell(s) that accept cash and credit cards

• Paying for monthly permits online

• Automatic withdrawal for monthly permit holders from their bank account

The RPA will begin work on the Chiarelli Plaza Garage on April 22, 2019. The current monthly lease rates at the Chiarelli Plaza, which have been in effect since January 1, 2015, are $82.00 for a regular space, $123.00 for a reserved space, and $65.00 for a residential space.

Due to the planned technology upgrades, ALL Chiarelli Plaza Garage permit holders will have to complete a NEW lease agreement with the RPA on or before April 12, 2019 for continued use of the Garage. This is true for all Chiarelli Plaza permit holders despite any prior lease agreement with the RPA. If your employer issued the PROXY card you use to enter the Chiarelli Plaza Garage, please contact them to complete the required forms. The new information requested by the RPA is necessary because of the planned technology upgrades. It will also allow the RPA to contact its customers as issues arise, for example, snow emergencies, garage upgrades/repairs, special rates, and/or concerning billing inquiries.

When new PROXY cards are available for continued access to the Chiarelli Plaza Garage and you have provided all of the newly requested forms and information to the RPA, you will be contacted via phone or email to return your current PROXY card. Then, you will be issued a new PROXY card to enter/exit the Chiarelli Plaza. In the meantime, please continue to use your current PROXY card. The PROXY card exchange for permit holders will be at the RPA’s main office at 613 Franklin Street, Reading, Pa.

Other RPA facilities will also receive technology upgrades. Here is the tentative order in which those upgrades will be implemented (starting dates to be announced later):  

·        Convention Center

·        2nd and Washington

·        4th and Cherry

·        South Penn

·        Reed and Court

·        Poplar and Walnut

·        7th and Washington Lot

·        Front and Washington

RPA business hours are Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. During the process, RPA has extended its office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 6:45 p.m. starting April 2, 2019 and continuing until the new gate process is completed.

For questions or concerns, please contact Thomas J. MacDougal, IV, RPA Executive Director, at 610-655-6166.

Read All About It! Berks Jazz Fest Returns April 5-14

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Sure as Spring rolls around, so does Berks Jazz Fest, too! The annual music festival is April 5-14 at various locations in the county, including several venues in downtown Reading. This is the 29th edition of the Fest, and we're excited to see and hear it unfold! So much so that we've devoted our latest newsletter to all things Berks Jazz Fest! You can check it out here.

DJ Duo of Spiderman Movie Fame Joins Local Favorite Go Go Gadjet to Launch Downtown Alive Free Concert Series

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Back by popular demand, local and regional favorite Go Go Gadjet will team up with the DJ duo Black Caviar to launch the 2019 Downtown Alive free outdoor concert series on Wednesday, May 29. The series will include five other concerts between June and October that will feature a broad mix of musical genres.

The shows will be staged again on Penn Street by the Reading Downtown Improvement District in partnership with Berks County Community Foundation and Berks County Convention Center Authority.

“Go Go Gadjet opened last year’s concert series and received such an enthusiastic response that we decided to tap them again as our opener,” said Charles R. Broad, Executive Director of the Improvement District. “It just so happens that the band has close ties with Black Caviar, a DJ duo which was involved with the award-winning soundtrack for the latest “Spiderman” movie – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. We were fortunate enough to book them, too, so this should be a great show.”

Go Go Gadjet’s band members have strong roots in Berks County. Together for more than a decade, the group blends the rhythms of dance music with familiar melodies from the past and present, straddling the line between band and DJ like few others.  

Black Caviar is comprised of Jarred Piccone, a Berks County native, and Troy Hinson, a former Kutztown resident. The electronic dance duo has been described as “one of dance music's most versatile producers, fusing elements of Chicago House and NYC Hip Hop, with a blend of New Orleans bounce and a twist of Latin rhythm.”

Broad noted that negotiations are being finalized with acts for the other concerts, and that those performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Each concert will have a festival atmosphere and include food trucks and beer and wine for sale. A “kids play zone” will also be set up and feature a variety of activities for children.

The shows will be held in the 500 block of Penn Street and start at 5 p.m. Specific food and beverage vendors will be announced before the series begins.

Berks County Community Foundation, which has been financially supporting the concert series since its inception in 2015, is providing major financial support from its Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund. Berks County Convention Center Authority is another major sponsor. Additional sponsorships are available by contacting the Improvement District office at 610-376-6424.

More information on the concert series can be found at .

Black Caviar

Black Caviar

New Brew To Debut At Reading Fire + Ice Fest As Fundraiser For McKinley Statue

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Celebrate the area’s beer history and the skills of today’s local craft beer brewers by raising a glass of this beautiful stout to help repair the statue of President William McKinley in Reading City Park.

Berks Brewers Guild members Broken Chair Brewery and Chatty Monks, both based in West Reading; Oakbrook Brewing Company, in the Millmont section of Reading; Saucony Creek Brewing Company, Kutztown; and the 1787 Brewing Company, Hamburg, have again collaborated for a great cause.

This time, the collaboration has produced McKinley's Prosperity Stout, a new brew to help raise funds for the restoration of the William McKinley monument that sits just to the right of the Frederick Lauer monument along Perkiomen Avenue in City Park. The statue itself is in pretty good shape, but the marble base is shifting a bit after a century – and we want to make sure the tribute to the martyred commander-in-chief will be in good standing for years to come.

McKinley's Prosperity Stout will be debuted at the annual Reading Fire + Ice Fest on January 18 and 19 in downtown Reading.  Beer aficionados can savor this great new brew – and simultaneously help fund the restoration effort – at the Saucony Brewing Company stand at the festival. 

Here is a description of the stout from its creators:

The William McKinley Prosperity Stout is a milk and honey oatmeal stout boasting rich flavors; it’s creamy and delightful. It is brewed with rolled oats, lactose, chocolate malts, and Pennsylvania wildflower honey. 6.7% abv

William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination six months into his second term in September 1901.  He was the third president to be assassinated. McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War and the only one to have started the war as an enlisted private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major.

Edward L. A. Pausch, a Danish-born sculptor, was summoned to Buffalo to make a death mask of McKinley shortly after his death. Death masks, usually made of wax or plaster of Paris, were common for major personalities of the time. In 1903, Pausch was commissioned to create a sculpture of McKinley for a monument to be erected in Penn's Commons, now Reading City Park, by the Reading Board of Trade, a predecessor of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce.  The death mask was used as a model for the face on the Reading sculpture, which shows the president in a double-breasted, knee-length coat holding a copy of the speech he delivered at the Pan-American Exposition. The monument was dedicated with great fanfare on June 8, 1905. It was the first McKinley monument in Pennsylvania.  A year later, on the fifth anniversary of his death, the McKinley statue was featured in a Page One article in The Washington Post.




Fireworks added to Reading Fire + Ice Fest Lineup

Fireworks originally planned for the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Pagoda will be part of Reading Fire + Ice Fest’s opening night festivities on Friday, Jan. 18. The fireworks were canceled because of inclement weather.

“When we were approached by Bill Koch Sr. of Berks Festivals Inc. to include the fireworks with Reading Fire + Ice Fest, we didn’t hesitate for a second,” said Charles R. Broad, Executive Director of the Improvement District. “What better way to usher in our fifth annual festival than to add a major touch of ‘fire’ to the event?!”

Koch noted that the fireworks display above Mt. Penn on New Year’s Eve has been a tradition for the past 21 years, and that Fire + Ice Fest was a perfect way to extend that tradition, albeit a few weeks later than usual. The fireworks, which will light up the nighttime sky above the Pagoda, are being presented by Berks Festivals Inc., and sponsored by the City of Reading; Foundation for the Reading Pagoda; Tompkins VIST Bank; UGI HVAC; William G. Koch & Associates, CPAs; Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys; DoubleTree by Hilton Reading; Penn National Gaming; White Star Tours; and Greater Reading Chamber Alliance. The show is staged by International Fireworks of Douglassville.

“People from throughout Berks County and beyond have enjoyed the colorful pyrotechnics display we’ve had year after year at the Pagoda, and we hope those who attend Reading Fire + Ice Fest will be just as delighted,” Koch said.

Reading Fire + Ice Fest will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, and the fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m., weather permitting. The Pagoda will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday and have refreshments available but no live music. If the fireworks are postponed until Saturday, the Pagoda will be open that night at the same time. 

The wintertime festival will once again feature a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities, including a Snowfall Ball, professional ice-carving competitions, fire performances, a chili cook-off, a large food and beverage tent, live music, and food trucks. All outdoor activities will be free, and the chili cook-off and Snowfall Ball will have nominal entry fees.

Scheduled to perform at the Snowfall Ball on Saturday, January 19 is The Uptown Band, one of the country's most versatile acts that feature an exciting and eclectic mix of music. The “casual dress” ball will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading hotel ballroom. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Sculpted Ice Works, located near Scranton, Pa., will rejoin Reading Fire + Ice Fest with spectacular ice sculpture displays and carving competitions. Established in 1999, Sculpted Ice Works is a full-service ice event company with several members of the National Ice Carving Association, and is owned by Mark Crouthamel, a carver with more than 20 years of experience under his belt.

Returning again to thrill audiences with their heart-stopping fire performances will be Madeleine Belle from Philadelphia and Flame Nouveau from Allentown.

Reading Fire + Ice Fest is organized and presented by the Reading Downtown Improvement District and supported in large part by a generous grant from the Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund of Berks County Community Foundation.

Leadership Berks Invites Feedback On The Need and Effects of Local Community Programming on BCTV

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The Leadership Berks Class of 2019 is conducting a study on the need and effects of local community programming on BCTV.  You are invited to participate in a brief survey that will help gather information to make determinations about the use and effectiveness of certain projects and programs on BCTV.

Survey participants will have the opportunity to be considered for a targeted focus group and will also be entered to win one of 10 VISA gift cards. The survey is available to take until January 18.

Click here to take the survey.

Check out our latest "Downtown Alive!" show on BCTV!

The former Pomeroy’s department store at Sixth and Penn Streets all decked out for the holidays!

The former Pomeroy’s department store at Sixth and Penn Streets all decked out for the holidays!

Our latest “Downtown Alive” show on BCTV focuses on Christmases past as well as present in Reading. Host Laura Reppert looks back at the holidays as they were celebrated years ago with Berks History Center’s Rick Polityka. Plus, check out highlights from this year’s Reading Holiday Parade! It’s all right here.

Tree And Menorah Lightings, Free Parking, And More in Latest Newsletter!


We’re just days away from the holiday tree lighting in downtown Reading! Read all about the festivities surrounding this annual event in our latest newsletter right here. Also included in this edition is a special announcement from the Reading Parking Authority, which is offering free parking on select days this holiday season. And check out the details surrounding the screening of "Polar Express" this Saturday (December 1) at Reading Movies 11 & IMAX.