On Sunday October 1st the City of Reading will celebrate its 275th Anniversary in the way anniversaries have traditionally been celebrated in the city, with a parade on Penn Street. The parade will run from 2nd and Penn to 11th and Penn and start at 10am. At 5th and Penn there will be a viewing area with bleachers thanks to City of Reading Public Works and a stage where local radio celebrities Hamilton Newton and Leah Tyler will be.
Grand Marshals of the parade will be the Reading High School Basketball team as we honor and acknowledge their 2023 State Championship and their role in shaping Reading’s history over the last 100 years. Other participants include 275th Sponsor Carpenter Technology, local and state elected officials, marching bands from Reading High School and Exeter, Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Reading Royals, McGinty Motorcars, Reading Pride, Shriners Legion of Honor and City of Reading Fire Department.
The real highlight of the parade though may be Reading’s own Stoneman Willie. The City of Reading and Penn Street’s longest resident, Willie, has been a resident of Theo C Auman at 327 Penn Street since 1895. Theo C Auman will be burying Willie on Saturday October 7th but before they do so will give the community an opportunity to say farewell during the parade. Willie will be led out by a New Orleans style Jazz Band led by Reading’s own Chris Heslop.
Following the parade the Berks Cultural Diversity Festival will take place in City Park 12pm-6pm to celebrate diversity and help create greater unity through music, food and dance. The event is free and open to the public and will include games, food trucks, cultural performances, vendors and more.
Screenings of the documentary From the River, will take place at R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX following the parade at 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00. The documentary by Tracey Schoot and produced by Schott Productions is a contemporary look at the history of Reading and Berks County.
The entirety of Penn Street from 2nd to 11th will be closed to traffic starting at 8am on parade day. The Penn Street Bridge will be open for traffic with a detour taking vehicles to Franklin Street to enter downtown. Those entering Reading from the east should use Chestnut or Washington Street to get downtown. From North to South Reading Police Department will be on Penn Street at the intersections of 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th to direct traffic across the parade route. 5th Street from Court to Cherry will be closed completely to traffic. Reading Parking Authority will offer free parking on parade day 8am-2pm at the 4th and Cherry, South Penn and 600 Cherry lots.
The parade will be held rain or shine. In the case of inclimate weather the parade will be canceled with an announcement made at 7am. There is no rain date.
Up to date information can be found on the 275th Anniversary Facebook page: facebook.com/cityofreading275