The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Transition Committee

Where We Play

Bethlehem Bishop Search “And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”
Zechariah 8:5

From its rich natural resources to every aspect of the arts to amateur and professional sports, the regions composing the Diocese of Bethlehem provide a rich milieu for leisure and an appreciation of creation. From solitary hikes to massive crowds for pop music concerts, there is something for every taste and preference in the area. Here are just some examples:

The Poconos

Summer and winter there is always something going on in the Pocono region. Hundreds of events and activities range from music and food festivals, holiday celebrations, whitewater rafting, skiing and NASCAR brighten the region throughout the year. PoconoArts is the oldest and most established local arts service organization in the Pocono region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It serves as a ‘Chamber of Commerce’ or umbrella organization for artists and arts organizations in all disciplines, as well as the resident and tourist populations of the area. Among its activities are Public Gallery Spaces; a Students’ Juried Exhibition; Annual Members’ Exhibition; Studio Classes; ARTSPACE Gallery; cultural planning; arts advocacy; and technical assistance. Yearly events sponsored by the Council include the Pocono State Craft Festival; Festival of Wood; Spring for the Arts; and Starving Artist Mac & Cheese Bake-Off.
More on “What to do in The Poconos” can be found HERE.

The Lehigh Valley

MusikFest is an American music festival that has been held annually in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States, since 1984, and it claims to be the nation's largest non-gated free music festival. The festival begins on the first Friday in August, and ends on Sunday ten days later. Each year, thousands of visitors and residents of Pennsylvania make the trip to Bethlehem to participate in a celebration that weaves through a Moravian community that dates back to 1741. Festival visitors are treated to hundreds of free shows over the course of the event. Bethlehem is also home to The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the oldest American Bach Choir. Since its founding in 1898, the Choir has attracted thousands of national and international visitors every May to its annual Bethlehem Bach Festival. The Choir’s activities have expanded to a year-round season of 31 concerts and educational programs. For sports enthusiasts, opportunities abound, including professional baseball in The Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, an AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Click HERE for more information.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys

The Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys are rich in recreational opportunities of all kinds - from those highlighting its history, such as the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, celebrating the birth of the steam railroad industry, and Eckley Miner’s Village, which exhibits the coal mining heritage of the area. For those seeking sporting activities, the region has top-notch skiing at Montage Mountain and nearby Elk Mountain (known for Vermont skiing in Pennsylvania), and the Triple AAA baseball team known as the Railriders. For the artistically inclined, there is the Everhart Museum in Scranton, and the highly acclaimed Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information on these and other opportunities, click HERE.

The Endless Mountains

There are opportunities for young musicians to develop and study chamber music at the David DeWire Center in Sullivan County as part of the Eagles Mere Community. The Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts presents professional musical programs and other cultural events of high quality for the community of Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding area. The Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra, the only community orchestra in the region, serves the people of the largely rural seven-county Northern Tier Region of PA. With Tunkhannock as its home base, NTSO gives performances at various venues across the region each spring season and fall season. For more on the cultural offerings available in the Endless Mountains regions click HERE.

The Lebanon Valley

In addition to its close proximity to the Philadelphia metropolitan area, The Lebanon Valley offers community and professional theatre, events and opportunities through several institutions of higher learning, active galleries, folk and classical music. Headliner acts perform regularly at Reading’s Santander Arena and Arts Center. The arena is home to the Reading Royals ice hockey team in the ECHL and the Reading Rockets indoor lacrosse team in the Professional Lacrosse League. Mt. Gretna in the western part of the region was founded as Pennsylvania’s Chautauqua, modeled after the original Chautauqua Institution in New York state. As part of its regular programming, Mt. Gretna provides a naturally dramatic, historic summer theater featuring plays and musicals from June through July. For more information click HERE.

Coal Country

The diverse ethnic communities that give the Coal Country such a unique flavor and appearance also make the region a stronghold for folk and traditional artists. Pennsylvania German redware potters, Ukrainian pisanki (painted Easter eggs) painters, and Mennonite quilters add a unique dimension to the region's cultural scene. Many artists sell their wares at the region's fairs and festivals and at local museum shops and galleries. Experience the life of a coal miner by touring the Pioneer Tunnel in Ashland, one of the longest operating coal mines in the region. Pottsville is home to the Yuengling Brewery and was the site of the hangings of several of the infamous Molly Maguires in the 1870s. The Molly Maguire Auto Tour is a fascinating narrated journey through the lives and times of the Mollies that takes visitors to several of Schuylkill County's most unique communities. Outdoor enthusiasts can find a wealth of recreational opportunities at Locust Lake and Tuscarora State Parks for hiking, boating, and fishing opportunities. Click HERE for more information.

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