Amanda M. Cain

Taking you beyond the stadium walls and into the community.

Month: December 2015

Community bands together to light up mountainside

READING, PA- Every December the residents of the city of Reading turn their eyes to Mt. Penn and Hillside Playground, anxiously awaiting the annual Christmas light display. After the disbanding of the Hillside Playground Association this past summer, it seemed that Christmas on the Mountain had come to an end.

When local business owners heard the news that Christmas on the Mountain may not take place this year, they came together to carry on this longstanding tradition.

In a post on the event’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ReadingXmas, community members such as Tim Profit, general manager of Savage 61, and Richard Carpenter, President/CEO of Access Industries, are named as two out of the many locals who have worked tirelessly to help this tradition see its 25th season.

The Marine Corps JROTC from Reading High School offered their time and energy to help with the setup and operation of the display, which includes inflatable characters and over half a million lights.

Christmas on the Mountain has inspired a long list of local sponsors who wish to see this tradition live on. The Reading Fightin Phils and Baseballtown Charities have made that list and have once again reached out and done their part to help the city of Reading.

Walking through the display is eye-opening and jaw-dropping. For first time visitors, the site can be somewhat overwhelming. Everywhere you turn there are lights and inflatables filling every available square inch. From giant Santa Claus and snowmen to inflatable Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Christmas on the Mountain brings out the child in everyone.

For the younger visitors, Santa is on hand to hear holiday wishes and take photos that will create long-lasting memories for years to come.

The site opened for the season on Nov. 29 and is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The attraction runs through Jan. 1.

Hillside Playground is located on North 14th Street in Reading. Parking and entrance into the playground are free and a snack bar is open to all visitors.

If your family loves Christmas lights and is looking to start a new holiday tradition, take a drive up to Hillside Playground and enjoy Reading’s Christmas on the Mountain.

Baseballtown to crown a new king

READING, P.A.- Each winter Baseballtown Charities and the Reading Fightin’ Phils host fans and baseball players alike for the annual Phillies Winter Banquet. While the event is a great night for fans to interact with players from both the major and minor league teams, the evening also includes the crowning of the King of Baseballtown.

The first King of Baseballtown, “Broadway” Charlie Wagner, was crowned in 2003, the year Baseballtown Charities was formed. Since then, there have been 11 kings and one queen crowned in Baseballtown.

Each king and queen has their own special ties both to the sport of baseball and to Baseballtown and the Fightins’. Experience in the sport ranges from coaching at different levels in Reading to playing with the Reading Indians to playing in the majors or in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

In an article published on the official Baseballtown site, http://baseballtown.org/baseballtown/kings-queen-baseballtown.html, the organization gives insight into what qualifies someone for the title of King or Queen of Baseballtown.

The article states “The honor of the title King or Queen of Baseballtown is bestowed upon someone who embodies the spirit of the game in Baseballtown at any level of the sport, whether it be as a player, coach, administrator, executive, philanthropist, or ambassador. The King or Queen is someone who has contributed mightily to the game of baseball here in Baseballtown.”

Previous Kings of Baseballtown include Paul “Cooter” Jones, a member of the Reading Indians and coach at Reading High School from 1973-96, Dr. David Q. Voigt, a baseball author, and Kevin Devera, director of the Olivet RBI Baseball Program in Reading.

The lone Queen of Baseballtown was Ruth Hartman, a former member of the All-American Professional Baseball League Fort Wayne Daisies and Racine Belles. Hartman also played amateur ball in Pennsylvania and worked in the Reading School District.

The 2016 Phillies Winter Banquet will take place on Jan. 19 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Reading Crowne Plaza Hotel. The evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, a sports auction, prizes, special guests and, of course, the crowning of new Baseballtown royalty. The recipient of this honor has not yet been announced by the team.

If you find yourself looking for a way to get out of your house this winter and want an early taste of spring, go to www.fightins.com and purchase your ticket to the 2016 Winter Banquet. Be there as Baseballtown welcomes its newest king or queen to the realm.

© 2017 Amanda M. Cain

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