On my early morning way into work yesterday, in the haze of said early morning, I almost got run off the road by two different RVs and clipped by another camper on 380.
“What the frigg???” I kept muttering to myself, as yet another behemoth raced by me, burning gas like they could find it on the side of the road for free or something.
Then it hit me — Race Weekend.
Yup, it’s Race Weekend alright. You know how I know? Because of the campers! And the RVs! But here’s another good way to know — the amount of stuff going on this weekend. As always, if you want your event promo-d in here every Friday, drop me a line or send an event invite to the PopRox Facebook page.
Well, it’s not Race Weekend without an actual Race. If you’ve never been, you probably should, at least once. Just so you know what all the hullabaloo is over. Or, you can just read this story I wrote about infamous Turn 1 a couple years ago. That’s pretty much what you’re going to get if you venture into Turn 1 territory.
One different thing you’ll find in the infield this weekend — a wiffle ball field for charity, courtesy of Barley Creek. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? People bring footballs, gloves and hardballs, washers, bocce, cornhole … why didn’t anyone ever get a wiffle ball game going? I’m sure they have, at some point, but Barley Creek is going to make it organized. I’d say the reasons it never happened on a major scale before though is 1. too windy up on the mountain, wind and wiffle ball don’t mix, 2. not enough room in the infield and 3. getting drunk people to stand around in the field and wait for another drunk person to pitch to another drunk person is asking a lot. It could probably get boring in about five minutes. But I’m certainly interested to see how it goes.
It’s not all at the track, the smart business people of the Poconos finally have taken advantage of the extra 50,000 people or so around this weekend to milk some cash out of them. Why not? They use our roads, crowd our restaurants and pee in our bushes at 2 a.m. So yeah, let’s get what we can this weekend while we’re here. That’s exactly why the Pocono Raceway Festival was started. If you don’t remember, about five or six years ago, there wasn’t anything going on around here to coincide with the race. Nothing. All the driver appearances were in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre or the Lehigh Valley. I never understood it. Why would you let all these people come into your own backyard, then allow them to sneak away when you should be financially capitalizing on it? Anyway, Rich Berkowitz at the Sherman Theater thought the same thing. So was born the Pocono Raceway Festival, with good reason. And it’s not just for tourists — it’s a nice day to hang out downtown with the family, and then get that family the eff out of dodge before the booze starts kicking in around 8 or so. Then it’s every man for himself. Lest we forget the festival also includes a Pub Crawl, or as most fans of the downtown call it, “Friday.”
Wanna hear another story about the origin of the festival? Good! In 2009, the Marshall Tucker Band was supposed to play a show in a field around Van Gilder’s Jubilee or something. It might not have been the Jubilee, I forget. But the show got sooooo overbooked people started to worry about putting 1,000 or so people up there. Berkowitz heard about it, swooped in and gave the band a bigger venue to play — the streets of Stroudsburg. So this is going full circle to have the Marshall Tucker Band as the one playing the festival.
Milford is pretty far from Long Pond, but that doesn’t mean race fans can’t hang out there. The Milford Music Festival is this weekend, and although it’s certainly seen it’s share of problems, it’s back this year for another go-round. The highlight is looking like Scott Weis Band, which plays at the Milford Music Theater at 7 p.m. It’s the first time Weis, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, has played in Milford for about two years, so says the press release the band sent me a couple weeks ago. See? You send me stuff, I get it in here. Easy peezy. The rest of the lineup is pretty good too, no reason to not check it out.
Unless maybe you’re in on the weekend fun at Mount Laurel PAC, the new moniker for the Mountain Laurel Center in Bushkill. Look, we can only talk about the center’s history so many times before it’s just beating our heads against the wall, right? It’s got a new management group in there this year, so let’s all keep an open mind to everything it has to offer. Because it does, in fact, have a lot to offer. I made it up for the Larry the Cable Guy show last year, and other than crazy rain and the insanity of $9 beers or whatever it was, it still has the look and feel of a first-class venue. Or at least one you would never believe is right in your own backyard. The center decided to open up the lawn for its two opening shows this weekend, too. The Guess Who is up tonight, Little Feat is on stage tomorrow. My one question for Guess Who — is it weird to have Michael Cera singing your song in Superbad when it was popular two decades before he was born?
And let’s not forget those Ziggy Marley tickets up for grabs for his show at Mount Laurel PAC next Friday. Enter to win, the deadline is coming up!
Awwww yeahhhhh, this one’s for the ladies. And some guys, I guess. Not me! Really, not me. The Chippendales Dancers are at Mount Airy on Saturday night. So there’s that. My only memorable experiences with male strippers were in Mr. Mom …
… and Summer School …
KRZ morning DJ sidekick-type Lissa is making her presence felt out here this weekend. She’s DJ-ing at Gypsies at Mount Airy tonight, then she’ll be performing Saturday before the Marshall Tucker Band at the Sherman. Couldn’t tell you what kind of music she plays, I can only listen to KRZ for a couple minutes before I start exhibiting seizure-like symptoms. I’m still mystified by KRZ though. Is there any other radio station in the country — and I’m serious, in the whole freakin’ country — that can say it’s had the same morning and afternoon drive-time DJs around since the freakin’ 80s?!?!?! Rocky and Sue took over for (I believe) Jim Rising (now at 102.3 the Mountain) as the morning team in the late 80s. And Jumpin’ Jeff Walker, well, he’s been around for as long as I can remember, and I started hardcore radio listening in 1985. I did my sixth-grade homework to the tunes of the Jeff Walker show on my old clock radio. And if you grew up in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, there is a 100 percent chance Jumpin’ Jeff DJ-ed a wedding, sweet 16, bar mitzvah, whatever, that you were at. And it’s not just that KRZ kept those DJs, anyone can do that. But for the last 25+ years, they’ve stayed the No. 1 station in the region the whole time. It’s unheard of, and I would bet good money it’s the only such situation in the country.
Last week we hit up some of the golf courses that are offering Friday night happy hour type shows with local musicians, and we might have missed one because Skytop will have Windfall outside on its South Porch from 8 to 10 p.m.
A lot of people are confused/frustrated/angry when Cove Haven brings in a show and offers it only to guests of one of its three hotels (Cove Haven, Pocono Palace, Paradise Stream). So I usually don’t mention the shows unless they’re open to the public … but they’ve got Boyz II freakin’ Men on Sunday! I can’t let that go. As much as I loved Boyz II Men in the 90s, my lasting memory of them will be them showing up late to sing the National Anthem at Phillies’ Opening Day in 1999. Late, but, mind you, before the anthem had been played. Like, two minutes before they were supposed to sing it. They expected to just step right up and sing, but the Phillies gave ‘em the old, “Thanks but no thanks” and led them out of the stadium. If you’re a reallllll Phillies fan, you may remember that game was also marred by one of the worst in-stadium
fight mini-riot I’ve ever seen up in the 700 Level of the Vet. Ahhhhhh, Opening Day memories.
(Forgot this one originally, sorry, adding it around 12:15) There isn’t likely to be much crossover in the crowds of the Pocono 400 and Superman. So maybe that’s why the Pocono Community Theater decided it would be a good time to continue its revival series by showing the original Superman at 6 p.m. Sunday, while all the NASCAR fans were well out of geek-taunting range. Bravo! I was never a fan of the Superman comic, but the movie is fantastic. It’s not as good as Superman II, but it’s certainly better than Superman III or Sup-- … you know what? Let’s just stop right there before I start vomiting.