Join Us For The Official Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 1!

Natalie Kolb photo/Courtesy of Reading Eagle This doggone cute pooch showed up last year at the Holiday Tree lighting ceremony.

Natalie Kolb photo/Courtesy of Reading Eagle

This doggone cute pooch showed up last year at the Holiday Tree lighting ceremony.

 

Downtown Reading is abuzz with holiday activities! 

Coming up on Friday, December 1 is our official Holiday Tree lighting ceremony. There's a new twist this year, with numerous festivities being held.

Activities will kick off at 4 p.m. with free live entertainment from various local community groups. Fresh-cut Christmas trees will be available for sale, both with and without stands. The trees will be provided by Lenhart's Farm, a local tree farm. There will also be a variety of foods and refreshments for sale.

A craft table will be set up for attendees to make holiday door decorations for a nominal fee. Plus, people are encouraged to participate in a free holiday ornament exchange by bringing their old ornaments to trade in for "new" ones.

All of these activities will be in the vicinity of Fifth and Penn Streets.

At 6 p.m., our Executive Director Charles "Chuck" Broad will join Reading Mayor Wally Scott in presenting holiday greetings, followed by the official lighting of the nearly 40-foot tree at Fifth and Penn.

As part of the festivities, children are invited to meet Santa at Santa's Wonderland in the former bank building at Fifth and Penn Streets. The interior of the main bank lobby has been transformed into a magical place for kids young and old alike.

Speaking of Santa, he of course made his annual appearance at the Reading Holiday Parade on Saturday, November 18. If you missed this colorful spectacle, not to worry. BCTV was there to videotape the parade and will be presenting replays. Here's the schedule:

BCTV:

Thursday, November 23rd @ 12:00 p.m.

Friday, November 24th @ 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, November 26th @ 11:00 p.m.

Monday, November 27th @ 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 29th @ 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 3rd @ 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 14th @ 7:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 19th @ 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 23rd @ 11:00 p.m.

Monday, December 25th @ 2:00 p.m.

 

Municipal Access Channel (MAC):

Thursday, November 23rd @ 9:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.

Friday, November 24th @ 9:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 25th @ 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 28th @ 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 2nd @ 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 9th  @ 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 16th  @ 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 23rd  @ 7:00 p.m.

Monday, December 25th  @  10:00 a.m. 

 

And here are this year's parade winners:

Corporate Floats:

1st:       Skateaway

2nd:      Christmas at FirstEnergy Stadium

3rd:       Carpenter Technology Corporation

 

Community/Civic Floats:

1st:       Dance Expressions

2nd:      Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center

3rd:       Superheroes for Autism

 

Youth Groups:

1st:       Dance Expressions

2nd:      Olivet Boys & Girls Club

3rd:       Muhlenberg High School Air Force JROTC

 

Bands:

1st:       Reading High School Band

2nd:      Fleetwood High School Band

3rd:       Exeter High School Band

 

We wish you the happiest of holidays!

Dr. Anna Weitz Will Lead This Year's Reading Holiday Parade!

Photo by Lauren Little/Courtesy of Reading Eagle

Photo by Lauren Little/Courtesy of Reading Eagle

Dr. Anna Weitz, President of Reading Area Community College (RACC), has been chosen to lead the annual Reading Holiday Parade in downtown Reading on Saturday, November 18. Dr. Weitz, who is retiring in June of 2018, was selected as this year’s Grand Marshal to celebrate her long-standing commitment to the Berks County community.

You can read more about Dr. Weitz and the Parade in the latest edition of our newsletter right here. Also in this edition are highlights of our annual Scarecrow Contest as well as photos from Pumpkin Palooza at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, which was held in mid-October. 

And the Scarecrow Contest Winners are...

Congratulations to our Scarecrow Contest winners!

1st Place -- A tie between YMCA of Reading and Destination Realty
2nd Place -- I-LEAD Charter School
3rd Place -- Council On Chemical Abuse

A special thanks to this year's judges - Levi Landis, Executive Director of GoggleWorks Center for the Arts; a class of pre-school students at the YMCA of Reading; and Christian Vazquez, a sixth-grade student at Southern Middle School.

And thanks to the other businesses and organizations that submitted entries: Abilities in Motion; Children's Home of Reading; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel; Liberty Environmental; Olivet Boys & Girls Club; Prospectus Berco; Reading Recreation at 11th and Pike and Third and Spruce; and Reading Public Library.

The scarecrows are still up, some come down to the 400 and 500 blocks of Penn Street to check them out!

1st Place Tie -- YMCA of Reading and...

1st Place Tie -- YMCA of Reading and...

Destination Realty!

Destination Realty!

Our Scarecrows are out and about downtown!

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You're invited to check out all the fantastic entries in our Scarecrow Contest! You can see them in person in the 400 and 500 blocks of Penn Street. Can't make it downtown? Then here's a peek at all the creative submissions. We want to thank everyone who participated. And we regret to say that two scarecrows -- one from the Reading Public Library and another from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel -- were vandalized and had to be taken down. We appreciate all the hard work that the library and the hotel put into creating their scarecrows. And we thank everyone who participated in this year's contest! 

Our latest newsletter features Pumpkin Palooza and Harvest Fest!

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Check out our latest newsletter to find out about Pumpkin Palooza, a family-fun event at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 14 from noon to 4 p.m. And read about Harvest Fest, a celebration of the end of Penn Street Market on Friday, October 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Oakbrook Brewing Company. All this and more right here!

First-Ever Reading Blues Fest Coming Up!

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Kick the post-summer blues with a new kind of blues -- Reading Blues Fest! This first-ever blues festival is coming to Reading October 6-8. Featuring big-time blues acts -- with nearly all the musical venues in and around downtown Reading -- this is going to be BIG. Read all about Reading Blues Fest in our latest newsletter right here. Also highlighted in this edition is Pumpkin Palooza at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 14, and info for entering our annual Scarecrow Contest. Check it all out today!

Tap Into Your Creativity -- Enter Our Scarecrow Contest!

Tap Into Your Creativity -- Enter Our Scarecrow Contest!

Just in time for the start of fall -- our annual Scarecrow Contest! We're looking for entries from businesses, organizations, clubs, families, schools and churches. Entrants are encouraged to create whimsical, humorous, mischievous or lovable scarecrows, which will be put up for display the week of October 9 along Penn Street in downtown Reading.

To be part of this free contest, participants must register by October 4. Registration information is available here, and additional information about the contest can be found here. For questions, contact the Improvement District’s office at 610-376-6424.

The scarecrows will be judged the week of October 9 and first, second, and third place ribbons will be awarded.

Free Upcoming Performance of "Dreamgirls" Highlighted in Latest Newsletter

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Read all about a free performance of "Dreamgirls" by Genesius Theatre on Sunday, September 17 in downtown Reading in our latest newsletter here. Also in this addition is information on the upcoming Reading Blues Fest in early October, as well as an article on a new Caribbean barbecue restaurant in the 1000 block of Penn Street. 

Last Free Downtown Alive Concert On Wednesday!

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The last free Downtown Alive outdoor concert for this year is coming your way on Wednesday, August 30 at 5 p.m. in the 500 block of Penn Street in downtown Reading. The show will feature Latino favorites 24 Horas, George Lamond and Funk Salsa Urban. 

Find out more about the concert in our latest newsletter here.

Also in this edition is info on our last MidDay Cafe concert this season on Wednesday, September 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the courtyard behind the Penn Square Center at Sixth and Penn Streets. And see what a bunch of Albright College students did voluntarily to spruce up the 400 block of Penn Street downtown!

A Solar Eclipse Party Coming To Downtown Reading!

Check out our latest newsletter to learn all about the solar eclipse party being presented by the Reading Public Library on Monday, August 21! Also included in this edition is a call for sponsors of Pumpkin Palooza, as well as an article praising the Reading Police Department's commitment to providing a police presence in center city Reading. You'll find it all right here.

CONCERT CANCELED BECAUSE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER FORECAST!

The Go Go Gadjet concert scheduled for this Friday, May 5 in downtown Reading has been canceled because of the major threat of inclement weather. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The following is what was previously posted:

Here's your chance to see Go Go Gadjet for free in downtown Reading! The popular regional band will appear in the 500 block of Penn Street on Friday, May 5 from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m., followed by other live music. Three pop-up bars presented by Trooper Thorns, food trucks, and food stands will create a block party atmosphere during the night.

The free concert is being funded by the Berks County Arts Fund of Berks County Community Foundation and is being managed by Reading Downtown Improvement District.

This event is part of the festivities being held in conjunction with the 30th annual MDA Ride for Life, which will be held at the Reading Fairgrounds in Bern Township on May 6 and 7.

Two Public Information Sessions About Penn Street Bridge Reconstruction Planned for April 11

Find out what's going on regarding the reconstruction of the Penn Street Bridge! Two public information sessions will be held on April 11 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, 701 Penn Street. To learn more, follow the links below:

Morning Session:

https://www.greaterreadingchamber.org/events/details/business-bridges-update-morning-2017-7878

Evening Session:

https://www.greaterreadingchamber.org/events/details/business-bridges-update-evening-2017-7879

City of Reading announces emergency planning in advance of snowstorm; Downtown Improvement District Office closed on Tuesday, 3/14 because of pending storm

The City of Reading today announced emergency plans in advance of the major snowstorm expected to hit the area tonight and into tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14)..

Also, the Reading Downtown Improvement District office will be closed tomorrow, March 14, because of the expected adverse weather.

Here is a press release issued by the City regarding its emergency plans for the snowstorm:

CITY OF READING PREPARES FOR THE STORM

Reading, Pa – March 13, 2017 – Mayor Wally Scott held the first of a series of meetings with key departments this morning to continue the emergency planning for the impending storm.

* Recycle and trash collection has been cancelled for tomorrow.  The schedule will be pushed back one day. 

*The City Public Works Department will run 20-24 trucks on 12 hour shifts round the clock until the storm ends. 

*The Reading Parking Authority will open the Parking Garages at 9:00 p.m. tonight for resident parking.  Cars may remain in the garages until 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.  Cars must be removed by 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

*BARTA has not yet made a decision on it’s service during the storm.

*Another update meeting has been scheduled for 4:00 p.m. today

Listed below are some reminders for residents:

*Please do not throw snow in the street as it makes for difficult travel and creates a problem for emergency vehicles

*Please dig out fire hydrants near your property in case an emergency arises

*Reserving parking spaces on public streets is not permitted

*Please help elderly neighbors and those with disabilities with snow removal

*All property maintenance inspections scheduled for Tuesday are cancelled.  You will be notified of the rescheduled date. 

*For updates please consult the City of Reading website and social media pages

Mayor Scott would like to thank every resident in advance for their cooperation to get the City cleared as quickly as possible.  Your patience is greatly appreciated as we work round the clock to clean the snow.

Additional updates will be sent as necessary.

Dunkin' Donuts and Barato Department Store Now Open For Business in Downtown Reading

Dunkin' Donuts and Barato Department Store Now Open For Business in Downtown Reading

Please take some time to visit these new businesses that are now open in downtown Reading:

 Dunkin’ Donuts opened its newest location at 645 Penn Street in December. Owners Mark Zlocki and Kimberly Farry have six other franchise locations in the area. They expect to see robust activity at their downtown store since it’s centrally sandwiched between offices, the DoubleTree Hotel, and Santander Arena.

Approximately 40 people have been hired to work in the store, but more employees may be added if activity picks up because of events at the arena, according to the owners. The store is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but may have extended evening hours to accommodate night-time events at the arena.

Barato Department Store recently opened at 301 Penn Street near the intersection of Third and Penn Streets. The shop offers furniture, stereos, televisions, draperies, and cell phones. The Penn Street store is the second one to be opened by Lapel Guiaro, who also has a location at 801 Oley Street. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Welcome to our new neighbors in downtown Reading!

2017 Property Assessment Payments Now Being Accepted

2017 Property Assessment Payments Now Being Accepted

Property owners in the Reading Downtown Improvement District (DID) should soon be receiving their DID assessment notices for 2017. If you do not receive your assessment notice within the next few weeks, please contact the DID office at 610-376-6424.

Full payments received by April 30, 2017 will qualify for a 2 percent discount. A flat payment will apply for payments made between May 1 and June 30, 2017. A 10 percent penalty will be applied for payments received after June 30, 2017.

Optional installments may be made in the following manner:

Installment #1 due by April 30, 2017.
Installment #2 due by June 15, 2017.
Installment #3 due by July 31, 2017.
Installment #4 due by August 15, 2017.

Please note that installment payments include a $5.00 administrative fee per payment. Late installment payments are subject to penalties.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to: Reading DID.Payments should be mailed to:

Reading Downtown Improvement District Authority
P.O. Box 1555
Reading, Pa. 19603-1555

Payments can also be made at the DID office at 645 Penn Street, Suite 505 (fifth floor). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

 

A photo collage from Reading Fire + Ice Fest 2017!

A photo collage from Reading Fire + Ice Fest 2017!

We hope you made it to the annual Reading Fire + Ice Fest on January 13 and 14. But just in case you missed this fun-filled weekend, we’ve put together a collage of photos from the event in our latest newsletter. Just click here.

You can find a lot more photos on the official Reading Fire + Ice Fest website at www.readingfireandicefest.com. Click on “PHOTOS + VIDEO” at the top of the page to access photo galleries from 2017 as well as 2016 and 2015.

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

Thanks to everyone who came out to support and enjoy Berks County’s premier winter festival!