Communities

 

Festivals

Berks Jazz Fest

One of the biggest jazz festivals on the East Coast, the Berks Jazz Fest features dozens of live performances by a wide variety of great jazz artists and some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Chuck Loeb, SpyroGyra, and George Benson.  The festival also offers many opportunitiesfor Jazz enthusiasts and amateur musicians to learn more about jazz music.This annual event is held in March/April at venues throughout the county.  http://www.berksjazzfest.com/

 

Apple Dumpling Festival

For over 50 years, the Apple Dumpling Festival has preserved the American county fair tradition where friends, family, and neighbors can meet and have fun. The midway features amusement rides, games, delicious food, music, a craft show, Pie Eating and Watermelon Seed Spitting Contests, and, of course, thousands of homemade apple dumplings!  This annual event is held at Willow Glen Park in Sinking Spring each June.

http://www.appledumplingfest.com/

Kempton Country Fair

The Kempton Country Fair isn’t just a livestock fair, it’s a rodeo, comedy show, dessert contest, country dance, auction, frog jumping contest, tractor pull, beauty pageant, and just an old-fashioned good time for the whole family!  This fair is held every June at the Kempton Fairgrounds in Kempton.

http://www.kemptoncountryfair.org/

Kutztown Folk Festival

Celebrating the Pennsylvania Dutch Culture for 65 years, this unique nine-day festival continues to attract upwards of 150,000 visitors each year. The festival, held each June at the Kutztown Fairgrounds, offers demonstrations of traditional crafts by 200 juried American craftsmen, folk life demonstrations, historical reenactments, antiques, hands-on kids’ activities, traditional music, and dancing associated with the PA Dutch.http://www.kutztownfestival.com/

Taste of Hamburg(er) Festival,

During the Taste of Hamburg (er) Festival, an entire town dedicates itself to grilling up the best burger, but this fun festival offers more than just delicious hamburgers.  You will also enjoy music (4 stages, non-stop), food, fun contests (how good is your moo?), entertainment, and lots of other activities.  This festival is held each August in Hamburg. http://tasteofhamburger.com/

Reading Fair

Every August, the Reading Fair offers families the opportunity to enjoy rides, entertainment, races, games, agricultural displays, and farm animals. Don’t forget to leave room to feast on all the wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch food!  This Fair is held at the Reading Fairgrounds in Leesport.

The Reading Fair Website

 

Chile Pepper Festival

Chile pepper lovers, rejoice! There is a festival just for you every September in Bowers, where you can participate in a Jalapeno Eating Contest, Salsa making Contest, and the Field Excursion – a pepper picker’s paradise where you can pick your own peppers from over 100 varieties.  You can also enjoy great music, the camaraderie of other chile pepper enthusiasts, and, of course, shopping.

Chili Festival Website

Lyons Fiddle Festival

For over 30 years, the Lyons Fiddle Festival has served as a gathering place for fans and practitioners who love and appreciate folk music, fiddling, spontaneous musical performance circles, delicious kettle-cooked soups, stews and chili, refreshing ice cream, and spirited competition amongst fiddlers.  This annual festival is held every September at the Lyons community Park.

Fiddle Fest Website

Oley Valley Community Fair

The Oley Valley Community Fair promotes good, friendly competition among the many friends and neighbors of the surrounding Oley Valley area. Each year you’ll find a wide variety of local products, participate in lots of fun contests, and enjoy the home-style Dutch cooking prepared by area churches.  This event is held every September at the Oley Fire Company Fairgrounds. http://www.oleyfair.org/

Oktoberfest, October

The Reading Liederkranz’s Oktoberfest has been rated number four, aside from Germany itself, by Business Insider.  This yearly event – held in October, of-course – offers traditional German fare, a variety of bands, and lots of family-friendly activities.

The Reading Liederkranz Website

Shocktoberfest

Shocktoberfest is Pennsylvania’s premier haunted scream park, and after over 20 years running, is one of the scariest places in America!  Stop by Willow Glenn Park in Sinking Spring this Halloween if you want to scare the bejeebies out of yourself or a friend.http://www.shocktoberfest.com/

Arts Festival READING

Held every October at the Goggleworks, the Arts Festival offers additional opportunities to roam the Goggleworks, enjoying demonstrations, performing arts, music, food, and unique shopping at over 50 artisans’ booths.

http://www.goggleworks.org/arts-festival/

Heritage Festival

The annual Heritage Festival, held at the Heritage Center each October, celebrates our area’s history and transportation heritage through demonstrations, exhibitions, music, lectures, walks, and arts & crafts.http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Dept/Parks/Pages/HeritageFestival.aspx

Greater Reading Film Festival, November, Reading

If you’re a film buff, you have to check out the annual Greater Reading Film Festival held in November.  The Greater Reading Film Festival is a Smorgasbord of Cinema showing a mix of independent feature, short and documentary films from around the world, as well as hosting special receptions and parties, educational opportunities, celebrity screenings, filmmaker panels, and much more.http://www.berksarts.org/greaterreadingfilmfestival.aspx

 

Wineries

  • Berks County Wine Trail
    • You may not expect Pennsylvania to have a thriving wine-making industry, but tour the Berks County Wine Trail, and you will discover a variety of award-winning wineries sprinkled throughout the countryside.  Each of the eight family-owned wineries offers its own personality and its own variety of wines.
    • http://www.berkscountywinetrail.com/
  • Bashore&Stoudt Country Winery, Bernville
    • Bashore & Stoudt Country Winery specializes in classic fruit wines, mostly produced from fruit grown in local orchards. Its plum wines – particularly the Shiro Plum wine – are among Bashore’s most popular wines.  In the spring, summer and early fall you can also purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables at the fruit stand across the street.
    • http://www.berkscountywinetrail.com/bashore.php
  • Blair Vineyards, Kutztown
    • Blair Vineyards isnestled among the beautiful hills of Kutztown. You can bring a lunch or purchase local cheeses and chocolates to enjoy with your wine selection onthe covered tasting pavilion that offersbeautiful views of the vineyard and the Blue Mountains. Blair Vineyards also hosts fun events such as Winemaker’s Dinners, music, and Trivia Night.
    • http://blairvineyards.com/
  • Calvaresi Winery, Bernville
    • Started in the basement of a row home in Reading in 1981, Calvaresi Winery has grown to six acres with a current capacity of 10,000 gallons plus annually.  Visitors enjoy many award-winning grape and fruit wines produced by this small winery, where quality is placed before quantity. The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures to retain the crisp, fruity, Germanic style of winemaking. The open-space tasting room allows you to view the wines as they age and marvel at the sizes of the tanks.
    • http://www.calvaresiwinery.com/
  • Clover Hill Winery, Breinigsville
    • This second-generation family business has grown to become one of Pennsylvania’s largest wineries, producing more than 70,000 gallons annually. Clover Hill has built a reputation for producing premium Pennsylvania wines. With two locations, you have the choice of visiting the main winery in Breinigsville or the more intimate tasting room in Robesonia.
    • http://www.cloverhillwinery.com/
  • Kog Hill Winery, Morgantown
    • Kog Hill Winery, established in 2002, was founded on the principal of producing quality wines from Pennsylvania grown fruits. The winery’s tasting room is located across from the landmark Windmill Family Restaurant and is nestled along the foothills of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. It features over 25 award winning Pennsylvania wines, ranging from sweet to dry, wherein you can discover a favorite all your own. Kog Hill also features gift shop that offers novelties for wine enthusiasts and wine making supplies for aspiring connoisseurs!
    • http://www.koghillwinery.com/
  • Long Trout Winery, Auburn
    • Long Trout Winery is based on concepts and philosophies of the 60’s and early 70’s…..Hippies, Flower Children, Rock Concerts, “Garage Band” Rock and Roll (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pink Floyd), and TV shows that the “Baby Boomer” Generation all grew up on.  Savor the clean, crisp homemade style wines like everyone’s Grandpa used to make amid a very groovy atmosphere. With wines such as Burnin’ Bra and Bell Bottom Blueberry, Long Trout’s “Prime Directive” is to “Be Completely Different!”
    • http://longtroutwinery.com/
  • Manatawny Creek Winery, Amityville
    • This family winery is located along the banks of the Manatawny Creek.  Manatawny is a Native American term meaning “Where we Meet to Drink”. Manatawny Creek Winery produces a wide variety of wine styles, but is especially known for its Bordeaux reds, Syrah, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. Enjoy a walk around the demonstration vineyard and take a self-guided tour, or bring cold bottle of wine and a picnic lunch to one of the picnic tables scattered around the grounds.
    • http://www.manatawnycreekwinery.com/
  • Pinnacle Ridge, Kutztown

Pinnacle Ridge Winery, situated in the heart of idyllic “Pennsylvania Dutch Country,” is housed in a beautifully renovated Pennsylvania Bank Barn originally built in 1851. The winemaking philosophy at Pinnacle Ridge is one of minimal intervention using traditional methods. This approach ensures that the unique flavors produced in local vineyards are retained and won the winery many awards.

 Pinnacle Ridge Website

Reading Sports Teams

  • FightinPhils – Baseball
  • The Reading Fightin Phils (Double A Affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) entertain fans April through September at the First Energy Stadium. They are the oldest team in the Eastern League to play in their original and current city (since 1967), and they play in the oldest stadium (completed in 1951) in the Eastern League.  With five mascots, a kid’s club, carnival games, and a pool, attending a Fightin Phils game isn’t just about baseball.  It’s about good old fashioned family fun.
  • Reading Royals – Ice Hockey
    • Since 2001, the Reading Royals have been playing ice hockey in the Atlantic Division of the ECHL’s Eastern Conference at the Santander Arena in Reading. In 2013, the Reading Royals were ECHL Kelly Cup Champions. A night at the arena is a cool way to spend time with friends and family.
    • http://royalshockey.com/

 

Parks

Antietam Lake Park

  • Located east of Reading. Access to the park is from Hill Road, Antietam Road, and Angora Road.
  • 643 acres
  • Antietam Lake Park is located in Berks County, just east of the City of Reading. The park’s main feature is Antietam Lake, a 13.5 acre impoundment of Antietam Creek which once served as a water supply for the City of Reading. Park land surrounds the lake providing, a scenic setting for nature-based recreation, such as fishing and ice fishing.

Berks Leisure Area

  • 1901 Tulpehocken Rd., Wyomissing PA 19610
  • 7.5 acres
  • The Berks Leisure Area is a recreational facility which includes a picnic pavilion, badminton and shuffleboard courts, quoit and horseshoe pits. The iron and wood footbridge provides access to the Union Canal Bicycle and Walking Trail on the opposite side of Tulpehocken Creek.  This bridge marks the location of a mule bridge that was used in conjunction with the operation of the Union Canal.  Crossing over the bridge from the Berks Leisure Area, the remains of lift Lock No. 51 of the Union Canal can be found.
  • http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Dept/Parks/Pages/BerksLeisureArea.aspx

Blue Marsh Lake

  • 1268 Palisades Drive, Leesport, PA 19533
  • 1,150 acres
  • Blue Marsh Lake is a man-made lake along the Tulpehocken Creek that features numerous boating, hiking, biking, and bird watching opportunities. It is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With over 36 miles of trails, 1,147 acres of water surface, picnic areas, a small beach and boat launches, the lake can accommodate all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.
  • http://www.schuylkillriver.org/detail.aspx?id=75

Gring’s Mills Recreation Area

  • 2083 Tulpehocken Rd., Wyomissing PA 19610
  • 33 acres
  • Recreation facilities include six tennis courts, a softball field, an eighteen station exercise course, one sand volleyball court, and a ranch-theme children’s play area. A game court area features volleyball and shuffleboard courts, quoits, and horseshoe pits. The Mill hosts several annual festivals such as EGGstravaganza, the Summer Concert Series held at the outdoor amphitheater on Sunday evenings, and the Holiday Lights Program during the month of December.

Kaercher Creek Park

  • 3401 Old Route 22, Hamburg PA 19526
  • 185 acres
  • The park is developed around a 40-acre lake, complete with a fishing dock, boat dock and a boat launching ramp. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. Family oriented facilities feature a lodge, picnic pavilion, children’s play apparatus, volleyball courts, sand volleyball court, quoit and horseshoe pits. Several summer concerts and interpretive programs are presented at Kaercher Creek Park.

Nolde Forest Environmental Educational Center

Stonecliffe Recreation Area

  • 1200 Monroe St., Reading PA 19601
  • 15 acres
  • Stonecliffe Recreation Area provides opportunities for family-oriented recreation and athletics. Facilities include an Action Park for skates and bikes, two volleyball courts, a basketball court, shuffleboard courts, and a combination football/soccer field. There is also a fitness station for both able-bodied and physically challenged persons. A centrally located children’s play area is adjacent to the fishing dock and picnic area.
  • http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Dept/Parks/Pages/StonecliffeRecreationArea.aspx

Youth Recreation Facility

 

Click HERE for more information on Berks County Parks

 

Historic Sites

 

Allegheny Aqueduct and Beidler House & Mill

  • 1130 Old River Rd., Gibraltar PA 19508
  • The aqueduct is a massive 112 1/2 foot structure consisting of five red sandstone and brownstone arches done with the “keystone” theme, built in the 1800’s as part of the Schuylkill Canal system. Located adjacent to the aqueduct, the Beidler House was built in 1783 by Conrad Beidler to serve as a home for the operator of the nearby mill.
  • Allegheny Aqueduct Historical Park

Berks County Heritage Center

  • 1102 Red Bridge Rd., Reading PA 19605
  • The Berks County Heritage Center is a historical interpretive complex commemorating important eras of our cultural history.  The Gruber Wagon Works, a National Historic Landmark, the C. Howard Hiester Canal Center, Wertz’s Covered Bridge, Melcher’s Grist Mill, Deppen Cemetery, Bicentennial Eagle Memorial, Police and Veteran’s Memorial, Doctor’s Grove, the Distlefink and a salad and herb garden are all encompassed on the Heritage Center property.
  • Heritage Center Website

Daniel Boone Homestead

  • 400 Daniel Boone Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508
  • The Daniel Boone Homestead is a historical site in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania that tells the story of Daniel Boone’s youth in Pennsylvania’s Oley Valley and illuminates the daily lives of the region’s 18th-century settlers through the eyes of the families who occupied the site. The Homestead features hands-on activities, living-history demonstrations, historic tours and more.
  • http://www.danielboonehomestead.org/

Hopewell Furnace

  • 2 Mark Bird Ln, Elverson, PA 19520
  • Hopewell Furnace showcases an early American industrial landscape from natural resource extraction to enlightened conservation. Operating from 1771-1883, Hopewell and other “iron plantations” laid the foundation for the transformation of the United States into an industrial giant. The park’s 848 acres and historic structures illustrate the business, technology and lifestyle of our growing nation.
  • Hopewell Furnace Website

The Pagoda

  • 98 Duryea Dr, Reading, PA 19602
  • A symbol of Reading for over a century, this landmark also offers panoramic views of the city. Completed in 1908 at a cost of $50,000, this pagoda was intended to be the hotel/restaurant centerpiece of a luxury resort. When plans for the rest of the resort were abandoned, the 7-story wooden building was donated to Reading. It is now part of the Mount Penn Reserve, 1,595 acres of municipally-owned land.
  • http://www.readingpagoda.com/

Red Bridge Recreation Area

  • 2141 Tulpehocken Rd., Wyomissing PA 19610
  • The Red Bridge, originally known as Wertz’s Bridge, at 220 feet is the longest single span covered bridge in Pennsylvania. Built in 1867 and one of five remaining in Berks County, the covered bridge allows pedestrians to pass over the Tulpehocken Creek to the Union Canal Bicycle and Walking Trail and the Berks County Heritage Center. The Red Bridge Recreation Area, located just south of Wertz’s Bridge on Tulpehocken Road, consists of a picnic pavilion and badminton court.
  • http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Dept/Parks/Pages/RedBridgeRecreationArea.aspx

 

Family Activities

Crystal Cave, Kutztown

  • Discovered in 1871, Crystal Cave is Pennsylvania’s most popular natural wonder. Don’t miss taking a guided tour through an array of spectacular milky white stalactites, stalagmites, and pillar &dropstone formations enhanced by indirect lighting. Aside from the caves themselves, there are also many other fun things to do in the park outside, including  a miniature golf course, ice cream parlor, Pennsylvania Dutch cafe, sluice to pan for gemstones, and a rock and mineral shop. Come anytime between March 1 and November 30.
  • www.crystalcavepa.com

Laser Quest, Wyomissing

  • Laser Quest is a family entertainment venue combining the classic games of hide-and-seek and tag with a high tech twist. The multi-level arenas have specialty lighting, swirling fog and energetic music to add to the excitement for up to 32 players in each game.
  • http://www.laserquest.com/

Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading

  • Located at the Reading Regional Airport, the MAAM’s collection features rare and fascinating exhibits of historic aviation artifacts, helping to tell the story of Mid-Atlantic Aviation. Foremost, are the award-winning warbirds and classic airliners, as well as rare and unusual military and civilian aircraft spanning eight decades of flight. The Museum’s collection is constantly growing and is in all stages of restoration, from pristine award-winners to basket cases awaiting restoration. So, airplane lovers, be sure to come by often!
  • http://www.maam.org/

Reading Public Museum, Reading

  • Journey from art to science, culture to culture, from this world to outer space. All in one unique location: The Reading Public Museum. This museum is educational and fun for the whole family. It includes galleries, exhibits, a planetarium, and an arboretum and hosts an array of family-friendly activities such as Star Shows, Art in the Afternoon, Kids’ Club, Family Days, and Summer Camp.
  • http://readingpublicmuseum.org/

Reading Railroad Heritage Museum, Hamburg

  • Train buffs – kids and grown-ups alike – will enjoy this amazing museum dedicated to the history of the Reading Railroad. The Reading Railroad Heritage Museum includes a freight yard that contains more than 70 freight cars, passenger coaches and locomotives from the Reading Railroad, as well as a main exhibit hall that showcases a wide array of artifacts and a replica of a station agent’s office that dates back to the 1930s. Guided tours are available. This museum really comes alive during the holidays, with special Holiday exhibits such as model trains, gingerbread railroad stations, and train-themed Christmas trees.
  • www.readingrailroad.org

Roadside America Miniature Village, Shartlesville

  • Come to the Roadside America Miniature Village to see an unforgettable panorama of life in the United States from the early pioneer days to the mid-20th Century. Featuring an 8,000 square foot, fully landscaped display; up to 18 trains, trollies and cable cars running throughout the display; many real rivers, streams and waterways; and interactive animations such as a circus parade, construction workers, saw mill workers and more, that can be activated by visitors, you will be amazed and fascinated at all you survey.  Comprised of not one, but many villages, the display depicts the countryside as it might be seen by a giant so huge that he could see from coast to coast.
  • http://www.roadsideamericainc.com/

Schell’s Miniature Golf, Temple

  • Providing great food and family fun since 1952, Schell’s Miniature Golf & Restaurant is located just north of Reading. Make your next family outing one that everyone can enjoy with a trip around the fun and challenging 27-hole miniature golf course. Afterward, cool off with handmade ice cream at the Dairy Swirl ice cream parlor.
  • http://schellsminiaturegolf.com

The Works at Wyomissing

  • The Works is a former textile factory transformed into a kid heaven. Behind the food and drink areas is a gigantic arcade.  Located directly above is Ballocity. Perfect for all ages from toddlers to adults, Ballocity is the ultimate climbing facility featuring climbing tubes, slides, foam ball launchers and much more. Unfortunately, adults must be accompanied by a kid. In the same complex, you can also find Slick Willy’s indoor go-karting facility, as well a state of the art nightclub and sports viewing facility that features national entertainment for parents.
  • The Works Website

 

Arts & Entertainment

 

The Kutztown Strand

Whether you prefer a great old black and white classic or a first-run digital 3D movie, the Strand Theater in Kutztown, opened in 1916, offers a nostalgic setting with reasonably priced tickets and snacks.  Check out Classic Saturday matinees and Saturday Night Cult movies. http://www.kutztownstrand.com/index.html

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

If you like art, be sure to pay a visit (or two… or three…) to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. The buildings that currently house theGoggleWorks were built in 1871 by Willson Goggles as the first factory to produce optical glass for lenses andlater expanded to produce safety equipment (like the titular goggles!).  The factory shut down in 2002. In 2005 the factory complex was renovated and opened to the public to further the arts in Berks County.  Today, you can wander the art galleries, take a class, or watch afilm.   There is no admission fee, and parking is free!http://www.goggleworks.org/

Reading Civic Theater

With its current membership of 150 adults and students, Reading Civic Theater continues to strive to produce great theatrical entertainment. Regarding their future, Reading Civic Theatre looks ahead with pride to reaching the 100-year mark, and the start of their 2nd century of productions. They continue to grow and entertain the Reading and Berks County community by living up to their motto of Bringing the Best of Broadway to Berks.

Reading Civic Theater Website

Santander Arena

The Santander Arena (formerly known as the Sovereign Center) is home to the Reading Royals ice hockey team, the Penn Roar soccer team, and Pennsylvania Steam, an indoor football team. This venue also offers major concerts, ice shows, WWE, and all sorts offun events. The arena draws the biggest names in entertainment, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Diamond, Godsmack, David Copperfield, Lynard Skynard, and Disney on Ice. It can seat up to 8,800 for concerts and 7,200 for hockey games and there isn’t a bad seat in the house! The Reading Eagle Theater is a unique configuration that converts the arena to a more intimate setting for artists such as Dolly Parton and Marilyn Manson to perform.http://santander-arena.com/

Santander Performing Arts Center

Check out the Santander Performing Arts Center for your culture cravings. It’s the home of the Reading Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Broadway on 6th Street series. World-renowned musicians from the Beach Boys to Gavin DeGraw, comedians, acrobats, and many others perform at the Santander Performing Arts Center. Enjoy classy entertainment in a beautiful, historic setting. Originally built in the 1870’s, the building played host to a market, a masonic temple, vaudeville performances, and silent movies.  The auditorium was rebuilt in 1921 after a fire destroyed most of it, and became a historic movie palace. In 2000, it was renovated with modern air conditioning and stage equipment, and more comfortable seating.http://santander-arena.com