My Cabela’s Excursion

img_4170On September 15th, I went with a buddy of mine to Cabela’s, a well-known hunting, fishing and camping store. While my friend is a frequent customer of Cabela’s and known among our friend group for always asking if anybody wants to come with him in our group chat, I had decided to join him despite my lack of familiarity with the store. One day after class, he texted me asking if I wanted to go to the Cabelas’s located approximately forty-five minutes away in Hamburg, PA.

When we had arrived at Cabelas’s, I was surprised by the vast size of the parking lot — I had later learned that the store offers spots for traveling RVs to park and stay overnight, which I thought was interesting and never had seen before. After taking a quick picture of the front of the Cabela’s, detailed with a nice roundabout for vehicles to drop off customers (which reminded me of a very similar drop-off location at a movie theater near my home), we walked inside and were greeted by an employee with a coupon that gives customers ten percent off certain brands of ammunition. While the coupon meant virtually nothing to me having not owned a gun, I noticed my buddy light up immediately as he is a rather passionate gun and hunting enthusiast. Walking towards the back of the store, I noticed many residents of the local, rural town close to the Cabela’s — dads taking their sons to look at hunting rifles, wives picking up new accessories for their husbands’ guns, children looking at the pellet gun modifiers, etc. We first stopped at the used hunting rifle section, filled with mostly .22-caliber bullets which I learned is known as the weakest type of gun and bullet one can purchase other than pellet and BB guns. We spent the majority of our time around the new guns and accessories, which was a very popular section considering the upcoming hunting season — I must admit that I felt clueless while asking my friend about the various gun brands both familiar and foreign to me. My friend had taken a number to talk to a representative about the various handguns available as he is pursuing his gun license in his home state of Connecticut. Listening to the two of them talk about guns was mundane for me at first, but after hearing about slight differences in the guns depending on the company that made it or where it was made was interesting from an outsider’s standpoint.

After my buddy had talked about his future purchase, he bought some ammo and other accessories for his hunting equipment and we were on our way. On out way out, I looked around and noticed a bunch of taxidermy from various donations from former customers all over the walls and in various installations on the floor. We even walked past a Koi pond, which was one of my favorite parts of the store. Cabela’s is a place very unfamiliar to me with people I don’t tend to be around very often. Originally, this was just a trip I decided to take to kill some time after getting out of class one day, but I had much more fun than I imagined and learned from the crash course. Being exposed to a place where I wouldn’t usually frequent as a customer allowed me to gain perspective on an interest or hobby to some that I made premature judgments on. I’m not sure if one will ever find me actually hunting for game, but I gotta admit I felt kind of cool holding a gun or two.

What’s going on with the blog? (Note from the professor)

questionsfry-panique-questionsDear Arts@Lehigh blog subscriber,

You may be seeing a bunch of notifications in your email with new posts to the Arts@Lehigh blog. These posts are from students in a course at Lehigh University called “Entrepreneurial Communications for Creative Industries.” An entry level course of the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation, the 39 students enrolled come from many areas of study, experiential backgrounds, and interests: Finance, Marketing, Journalism, Supply Chain Management, Public Relations, Political Science, athletes, greeks….what’s missing? Arts, Theatre, Music, and Design majors. Not that I don’t get the occasional arts student, but they are unicorns in this class.

And I like it that way. Experiential learning through community arts and cultural activities can be open to all students. This course offers an opportunity for students to explore the arts and cultural industry of the community that surrounds the campus. For their first assignment, the pedagogical process included identifying something to experience, create content that described the experience, identify an audience, and find ways to deliver their content to an audience wider than their immediate circle of friends and family. Through learning how to communicate their first-person experiences while learning various techniques that employ entrepreneurial thinking, the students come to understand the cultural assets in terms that matter to them.

The recent posts are their stories, observations, and possible motivations to an audience they don’t know. They don’t need a deep understanding of the art, the cultural organization, or community asset to describe what they experienced. Through writing, they are encouraged to think about who else would care about their story.

This blog was used as a tool for the students to see immediate response to their work. It’s a way for them to observe analytics, and to learn the nuances of reaching an audience through strategic social media engagement. An established readership (you) have been inundated with posts that may not be talking about the arts. However, if you feel compelled to comment on any of the posts, we welcome your contribution. Invite the students to something you care about. Challenge them. This is a great place to start a conversation.

For some of the posts, it may also be useful for cultural organizational leadership to read the students’ experiences. If they are interested in what students have to say about how they engage in the community off campus; these experiences could offer a bit of insight into the mysterious ways of Lehigh University students.

The students won’t be doing another round of writing for a while. Don’t fear a continuous stream of more notifications. As always, I thank you for subscribing to this blog.


Dr. Silagh White


My Experience at Celtic Fest

This past weekend would be the second year in a row that I attended Celtic Fest. After last years experience I had to come again. This year my friends and I have been looking forward to this event since we arrived at school in late August.

Unfortunately this past Saturday I had to wake up at 6:30 am to wake up for lacrosse practice. We just couldn’t wait until practice was over. After practice and the lifting session  was over, it was back over the mountain and preparing to get ready for celtic fest. I hopped in the shower and tried my best to represent Irish heritage and put on as much green as I could. So I thought I thought how could I do it any better by wearing my New York Jets Jersey. As for my roommate Casey he was completely prepared for Celtic Fest. The prior year at Celtic Fest my roommate was on a mission to find himself a kilt to wear. He found one and ended up spending ninety dollars on it. So he was going to wear his exotic looking kilt all day. Before we do anything socially we always hangout at my house and usually play video games and have a couple casual sodas. While we were doing this I think the song shipping up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys was played over ten times. Then it was time for us to make our journey over the bridge and head over to kick off our day.

After a very long walk over to the north side of Bethlehem we all  finally arrived at Celtic Fest. We were greeted by the amazing sounds of bagpipes, the great smell of turkey legs and chicken potpie and the roar of people cheering on the many games that were occurring at the main field. We were like little kids in a candy shop and we had no clue what we wanted to do first. We decided we had to start of with a refreshment and a turkey leg. The turkey legs were the best we ever had and they were the size of a football. It was so big that I could barely finish it I had to give it to one of my buddies to finish it off. After we ate we headed over to the Highland field to watch many of the cool games they had. The sheaf and caber toss were my favorite. The sheaf toss is when a pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a designated height. That was just a warmup until I saw what the caber toss was. The caber toss is when competitors toss a large pole and it mustve been twenty feet high. Both of these events were exciting to watch. They were so great I had to know more about these games. I ended up having a conversation with a man that worked at Celtic fest and he gave me many interesting facts about both these competitions. I learned that the Caber toss is practiced in the Scottish Highland Games and is a very competitive among its athletes.

After spending time at Highland field we made our way over to the food tents. I felt like it was a never ending sight of white food tents. Hundreds of vendors were selling many different types of food and after looking at all the I wanted to try as much as I could. So my second meal in about 3 hours I ended up getting a chicken pot pie which is one of my all time favorite foods. We decided to enjoy our food at one of the main tents where they were holding live music all day. The music and atmosphere in the grand pavilion was like no other. People were up in front dancing and singing with plenty of smiles on there face. I know that I went up their and tried not to embarrass myself too much. After spending much time listening to the live music we decided that it was time for some good old fun with some jameson shots. I don’t think they’re that much fun at all especially that it never goes down smoothly at all.

After filling ourselves with some Jameson, all of us wanted to get something at the retail stores so we had something to remember celtic fest. They had everything from swords and knifes to t-shirts and kilts. I was all over the place and didn’t know if I wanted to go simple and get a t-shirt or get something a lot bigger. While I went with the simple t-shirt my friends went with stuff that was more flashy and a little bit more expensive. My roommate Matt saw  a Katana and he pulled the trigger and bought. You can say that when we got home he couldn’t stop swinging that thing at unopened water bottles. My other roommate Casey went with something a little smaller which was a Eagle Bowie knife. This blade had an engraved handle and came with a display wood case to keep it in. Now that I look back Im kinda jealous and should have got something else besides my t-shirt. Well I did! I ended up going back on Sunday to buy myself a bowie knife from one of the vendors. So after breaking into our wallets we decided it was time to pack everything up and head back over to the south side and get a nap in. But before we did that we bought some great cigars to walk with on the trip back home.

Since 1998 the Celtic Cultural Alliance has been hosting the Celtic Highland Games and Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This event and organization has been promoting and preserving the Celtic Culture. This being my second year at Celtic Fest I can say that I have learned a lot about the Celtic Culture that I never knew before. Instead of doing a day drink in a Fraternities backyard I had a great change of pace for the weekend. I was able to get away from school and all my stresses for the day. Enjoying the live music and food with the community was an amazing experience. I would recommend this to anyone in the lehigh valley looking for something to do with their friends and family. I’m looking forward to coming back next year and enjoying this great experience with my friends again. If anyone needs any information on the Celtic Fest you can visit their website here

Alpha Phi Phiesta Bowl


Come one, come all! This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my sororities philanthropy event, Phiesta Bowl. This is my chapters largest event on campus and in my opinion the most fun! We were fortunate enough to get a beautiful day the weather was 70 degrees, sunny, and with a light breeze. A perfect late September day. The above is a flyer providing information for the event which could have been found all over social media and around campus. The attire for the day is comfortable. If you are playing wear something sporty and if you are spectating make sure to bring sunglasses it gets very sunny up on the Mountain Top Campus! The detail that needs a little more explanation on this flyer is the location of Sayre Field. Even if you are a Lehigh student, it can be hard to find. Here is a map of its exact location. (It can be found to your left, right before the Mountain top laboratories). I also recommend carpooling because their is limited parking spaces at this field!


The event kicked off at 1pm flawlessly with 30 teams and many fans who came to cheer them on. Music blasted from the speaker and the 10 different flag football fields were off competing for Alpha Phi Phiesta Bowl tanks. Which I do have to say were very cool, they were red and blue with the NFL logo replaced with the Alpha Phi letters. If participants wanted a shift of their own they were being sold for $15. The day was full of sports, free, food, and puppies. Yes, you heard me I said puppies. Spectators brought their dogs to the event and it honestly made it even better. I even got to meet this little guy Oliver. (How could you even resist those green eyes?)


The awesome part of this event was that all proceeds went to women’s cardiac care which is the main philanthropy for Lehigh’s Alpha Phi Chapter as well as the rest of the organizations. If you would like to find out more about this, click here. Alpha Phi sorority will be hosting many more events around campus to support this cause so please feel free to stop by to support Cardiac care! Aside from raising a ton of money for a good cause, the event provided a nice break from studying on a Sunday and Free Food. The FudTruck was up at the event providing tacos and quesadillas for participants of the event. The FudTruck can be found on Lehigh’s campus inbetween Fairchild Martindale Library and Maginnes.

This event was a great way to get involved on the Lehigh campus because it brought together student athletes as well as members of clubs and Greek Life! It was an awesome way to meet new people on campus that you have not met before and to play some flag football. As a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, I would like to thank everyone who donated, participated, and came out to support our event. I would also like to congratulate Lehigh’s Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity for being this year’s Phiesta Bowl champions. We hope you enjoy the free shirts! And if you missed out this year do not worry this is an annual event and will be happening again next fall!


The Bayou

Unfortunately, it has taken me until the start of my senior year to realize how many different kinds of food Bethlehem has to offer.  I love food, some may say a little too much, and I love going out to eat but I never gave many of the restaurants in the area a chance.  At the start of the year, some friends of mine introduced me to a few new places to dine and I have been impressed with each and every one of them.  First I tried Cilantro, where my friends and I enjoyed some delicious Mexican food and shared some salty but sweet margaritas that kept coming round after round.  Next, I went to Apollo Grill and I indulged in some mouthwatering crab cakes that made me reminiscent of those warm summer days spent at the beach this past summer.  I have been trying out new restaurants in the area since the start of the semester and have no regrets thus far.  To keep my streak going this past weekend I was introduced to a restaurant called The Bayou.

The Bayou opened in March of 2014 located in North Bethlehem just across the bridge from Steal Stacks and the Sands Casino.  The chef, Tyler Baxter, delivers a unique dining experience to the Bethlehem community filled with southern inspired dishes, cocktails and multiple craft beers.  I did not know of the restaurant prior to this past weekend but I was invited to a birthday dinner and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try some new food.  All I knew was that it is a restaurant and bar with a rating of 4/5 stars on yelp and that was all I needed to see.

On the night of the dinner I was in a rush because I was already running late and I did not read over the message from the birthday girl saying to come well-dressed, so I casually threw on my favorite hoodie, a pair of jeans and hailed an uber.  My uber arrived at my house and I told the driver to speed on the way to the destination hoping I would not be that guy that shows up late to the someone’s special dinner.  The Bayou is only a short drive from Lehigh’s campus but of course, we hit every red light on the way to the restaurant, just my luck.  Fortunately, I was able to spark up a conversation with my uber driver and he knew of The Bayou very well.  He said that he and his wife dine at the restaurant at least once a month and that all the food is delicious.  He also told me his favorite dish was the fried chicken and recommended that I give it a try since it was one of their chef specials.  I never fully trust uber drivers but since he mentioned that he was also a Philadelphia Eagles fan I took note of what he said.

When my uber pulled up in front of the restaurant I saw the birthday girl and her party of friends entering the restaurant so I jumped out to catch up with them.  It was then than I realized I was the most underdressed person in the group, and the only man not wearing a button-down shirt and pants.  There was nothing I could do at that point so after a small joke about my appearance we all proceeded inside and were seated at our table.  There were 13 people in our party and we were all ready to indulge in some tasty southern food.  The atmosphere was unique and every aspect of the restaurant gave off a genuine southern feel.  Once we were all seated our waitress introduced herself and started us off with drinks.  The cocktail list was exotic to my 21 year-old standards and all of the beverages sounded enticing.


The birthday girl ordered her favorite, the Voodoo Juice, which is a blend of banana, curacao, pineapple, sour, cranberry, and a secret rum.  It sounded appealing but too sweet for my tastes.  I order the whiskey crush which was a blend of bourbon, apricot and banana schnapps, sour, and over crushed clementines.  Everything on the menu looked appetizing and I had a tough time making a decision on which entrée to order.  However, I believe everything happens for a reason so when it came time to order food I decided to go with the chef special, the fried chicken, just as my uber driver had recommended on the way to the restaurant.

Maybe it was me and the fact I was starving since I had not eaten since lunch but I felt that we waited for our entrees for over an hour.  We did have a large group so that could have been another reason for the long wait but when the food was finally served a big smile came across my face.  The table was filled with all kinds of foods ranging from mac & cheese and braised oxtails to salmon and steamed claims.  Everyone tasted a bit of each other’s plates but I will say that my entrée, the fried chicken, was my favorite.  The meat was so tender that it fell right off the bone and the sides of pickles and sweat potatoes only added to the flavor.

Once we finished our meal our waitress brought the birthday girl a small surprise birthday cake that we all got to nibble on.  In the end, all I can say is that the food was unforgettable and the atmosphere of the restaurant gives off the feeling of real southern hospitality.  I recommend everyone that has a taste for southern food to give this restaurant a try.  You can find out more information and check out the menu on their website,  I have learned that you never know what you are missing out on until you are willing to try new things so I encourage everyone in the Bethlehem area to treat themselves to a mouthwatering meal at The Bayou.


*All photos are owned by the restaurant and can be found on their website (

The Celtic Festival

I am a college student. I attend Lehigh University, which is a regionally prestigious private school in the small city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For a communications class I am currently taking, I was required to have an experience and create a blog post about it, the blog post I am currently writing. Attending the local Celtic Festival, a festival celebrating Celtic culture, was suggested in class as a potential experience, and I took this option. The Celtic Festival, officially titled the Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival, is one of many festivals the city of Bethlehem puts on, the most famous of which is probably Musik Fest, a music festival that has recently featured acts as prominent as Jerry Seinfeld, a stand-up comedian best known for the television sitcom Seinfeld. I have attended many of these festivals before, including the Celtic Festival, as a child because I grew up a little under an hour away from Bethlehem in a small town where there was very little to do and many townspeople traveled far for events of smaller magnitude than the Celtic Festival. The Celtic Festival runs three days a year, in the fall, Friday through Sunday, and this year those dates happened to be September 25th through the 27th. I determined this by searching the internet for Bethlehem Celtic Festival, and looking at the website set up for the event and the schedule on that website. I chose Sunday to attend as it was the day I had the most time available. I attended the event with a person close to me who was visiting me for the weekend, a college student attending Kutztown University, a public school that is part of the Pennsylvania state system of schools. The event ended earlier on Sunday than the other days, at 8 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. It’s about a twenty minute walk from my dorm room to the festival, which is located officially at 532 Main street Bethlehem. Pa., 18018, and we left sometime around 5 p.m., so we had about two hours at the festival.

The event is denoted by its white tent stands. At the south end of the event, where we entered, these stands primarily sell food. Some of this food is classic Celtic food such as shepherd’s pie, which is ground beef topped with vegetables and mashed potatoes, and bridies, which are pockets of ground beef baked in a pie crust; some of the food is American festival fare, either mass-produced like mozzarella sticks or locally produced like a stand selling free-range fried chicken; and some of the food is a strange mishmash like the Celtic “walkaway sundae” featuring different Celtic foods stacked atop each other in a plastic cup. The last option seemed gross to me and I didn’t try it at any point in the evening. At this point we were not hungry anyway, and we did not feel like exchanging our cash for the event tickets required to purchase food, so we did not try anything at this end. On our left was an empty field, where teams at some earlier point threw long pieces of wood that look like telephone poles as far as they could, because this is a traditional Celtic sport called the caber toss. I didn’t feel a desire to watch this year’s competition, as I have seen it before, and it only took one viewing for the novelty to wear off and then it was no more exciting than watching my high school shot put team put a shot.


The middle section of stands is primarily vendors selling Celtic-related wares, such as jewelry, old fashioned caps, swords, and kilts. These were often priced beyond my wallet, and were not for the most part goods that had a high degree of potential daily use, as items such as kilts could really only be socially-acceptably worn by me at an event such as the Celtic festival, and really I had no desire to wear one anyway. I like my shorts and jeans. I was a little tempted by the very neat and real looking swords for sale, but I was sure they were hundreds of dollars without even asking. The amount of kilts and old fashioned caps being worn at the festival showed that these vendors were not having trouble selling!


In this section two mounted policemen, meaning policemen riding horses, were stationed. The Bethlehem police force has a group of policemen who ride horses in areas of the city, perhaps out of tradition, perhaps because horses are threatening as they could rear up and kick you. These policemen, though, acted like a real buddy comedy team with lots of horse-based jokes as people petted their horses. When a woman’s plastic cup, which was filled with beer, was held by the woman close to one horse’s face purely by accident, one policeman said that she should move it away before the horse took a drink. The other policeman then said that that sort of thing has happened before, though he was likely kidding. The first policeman then asked the woman what kind of beer she had. She responded with a particular type of beer, such as a lager, though I don’t remember exactly what type. The first policeman responded that the horse was more of an IPA guy. I found this sincerely funny, and felt like I was in the middle of a hit Kevin James comedy.

Finally, we arrived at the northern end of the festival, where a major event tent is located. This event tent currently featured Irish river dancers, who are dancers that for the most part only use their legs to dance, not the rest of their bodies, in a kind of rhythmic hopping with some fancy footwork in typically one spot that can produce a loud stomping noise. It’s a real treat to watch for many people, given that the near-capacity crowd in the tent was clapping along. I myself have always found this type of dancing a little boring, because it only involves the legs, and it seems like there’s only so much you can really do with it. It does seem fun for the dancers though, and they did a great job!


Opposite this tent were more food stands. We purchased twenty five dollars in tickets at the ticket stand using a Visa credit card, as my partner was now hungry, and purchased one lemonade and one bridie, otherwise known as a meat pie. This cost eleven dollars in tickets. She tried the bridie, and said that it was a little boring in flavor, as it was just ground beef and a crust. She added barbecue sauce to it, and this improved its flavor. Before we left, we purchased two slices of cake from a bakery vendor, one chocolate, and the other Bailey’s Irish crème liqueur flavored, both of which we shared, each eating half. This cost fourteen dollars, the last of our tickets: perfect! The chocolate cake was a solid chocolate cake, about what you’d expect. The Bailey’s Irish crème cake was stale, and did not have much flavor. I take responsibility for the lack of flavor, however, as that is more of a judgment call on my part. Bailey’s is most often used as a smoothing agent in shots consumed primarily by college-age drinkers, rather than a flavorful liqueur meant to stand on its own, and therefore a cake flavored solely with that liqueur should not be expected to be particularly flavorful.

I have to note that the dogs at this festival were many and great, and the people attending the festival were more than happy to allow you to pet their dogs for the most part if you asked. I petted a Saint Bernard that was one of the largest dogs I have ever come across. Its head felt as big as a basketball, and it reminded me that dogs evolved from wild animals, which were most likely wolves.


After all this excitement, it was good to take a walk on the Bethlehem canal trail, which is a path along the old, now-unused transportation canal that runs through Bethlehem. This is a packed gravel and dirt path that starts right at the edge of the festival. The path runs under several bridges, some still in use and some not, and one that is graffitied with mysterious messages that I could not understand. As we moved farther along the path, however, we were enclosed by trees on the far side of the canal on our right and the near side of the path on our left, and beyond the trees on our left a river flowed. We felt like we were no longer in the city, but truly deep in nature. My partner told me of a time she hiked up a mountain, that as she walked across the top of the mountain a hole opened up in front of her that had been hidden among the boulders she was walking on, like a cave but angled straight down with no bottom visible, and she could have fallen down it because there were no warning signs at all. Thankfully, she didn’t. As we talked, many birds chirped and the insects made that weird whirring sound they make that you’ve probably heard before.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On our way back night had fallen, and a light across the river shined on the water. The night was so dark that it seemed that the light and its reflection existed on a single, separate plane from the rest of the world, and that the light and its reflection were equal, not a source and its expression but two independent entities working together even while apart, the reflection a beam leading up to the point of light and not quite reaching it. I felt that this was a good representation of my emotional state at the time, like I was moving through the form of a potential realization but not actually reaching it. I also thought that this wasn’t true, that I wanted to feel melancholic because my surroundings were melancholic, but really the situation was trivial, and nothing important was happening in my mind.


When we returned to my dorm room we agreed it had been a good day. We had moved through two environments fairly different from what we experience on a daily basis and highly different from each other, one commercial and one natural, one hectic and one peaceful, one cluttered and one composed of organic variations on a set of often highly linear forms: the canal, the river, the path, the trees lining the path. The two contrasted with each other in our memory, refreshing us for each experience as we re-experienced them in our heads. That’s probably not true, but the environment of the path did at the time give us mental space to reflect on and process the objects presented by the festival, allowing the experience to come to a more reflective, and therefore fulfilling, ending. In any case, these objective environments did break us out of the routine intersubjective streams that we had been occupying as students — textbooks, scheduled lectures, social media — and gave us a break from subordinating our minds to others’ often dispassionate and, in the case of social media, highly fractured thoughts, in an almost continuous state of being only partially ourselves. So even if it’s something as simple as a little festival, having an experience can make you feel more alive. The city of Bethlehem presents many festivals over the course of the year, including the aforementioned Musik Fest and the highly popular Christmas celebration featuring Christkindlmarkt, a gathering of Christmas-themed vendors. Check one out today at their event page!


The Celtic Classic!

This past Saturday, September 24th, the Celtic Classic was happening just over the river, on the north side. As I have traditionally attended this event each year the past three years, I planned on this year being no different. Despite going in the past, this year was going to be different, and not only because I was of legal drinking age. After a packed morning of casual mocos at a friend’s house and going to the tailgates for a burger and beer, I was ready to start my trek across bethlehem to the north side.img_3615Two of my housemates and I started off on our trek from our residence on first terrace, eager to explore the town on our way down. Having just attended mocos and tailgates, I was dress more vicariously, wearing a retro basketball jersey, stylish bright blue pajama pantis I had picked up in Africa earlier in the year, and a red bandana strapped to my left bicep. James and Pants (short for Pantelis) started telling me about a spot they had traversed earlier in the week- a new brewery and bar on the south side called Bonn Place Brewing Company. Located on Taylor Street, right across from C-Town, it is a newly founded enterprise that brews a multitude of different beers. I had the pleasure of talking with the founder, Sam, who bought the building two years ago with his wife. Two actors who had worked in all 50 states, they fell in love with South Bethlehem while performing at the Steel Stacks, and decided to live in town. They are big patrons of the community, and locally source as many of their ingredients as possible, including using coffee from Monocacy Coffee Co., a local coffee shop in the process of opening, for a delicious coffee infused pale ale. I had one of their finest stouts, and could not be more pleased with the beer or the complementary peanuts they were kind enough to provide. Although I was somehow not in the right state of mind to snap a picture of the indoors during this impromptu stop, I cannot stress how tastefully the interior of the building was decorated. I can say that I will be happily coming back to this hidden gem many more times throughout the semester. I also highly recommend following them on twitter @bonnbrewing for on the fly deals they occasionally put up!img_3608

After feeling satisfied with our beer and nuts, we set out to complete the rest of our trek to the north side. A short trek to the new street bridge was easy enough, and not soon after we reached one side, we landed at the other. We could hear the music blaring ever louder as we approached, until we had the festival in full view. And what a view! Thousands of people surrounded us, almost exclusively wearing the traditional color of the Irish, while we heard wonderful Irish music resonating wherever we were positioned. We met up with a larger crowd on arrival, composed mostly of recent graduates, who with which we had attended the festival in previous years. As we made our way through the event, we began to understand the lay of the land. At the beginning, there was a many piece band playing in unison, with the most noteworthy sound being the wheezing bagpipes. Moving up, there were shops adorning the right  side of the walkway, stretching thousands of feet to the bridge above, then past that. On the left side, before the river approached, was the main attraction; the feats of strength. The first event happening while we were there was the hay bale toss. Burly Irish men would take a pitchfork, spear their bale, and toss it with a motion not unlike a shot put twirl above an elevated height marker. During our time present, we saw them tossed over thirty feet! That’s higher than three basketball hoops! Not soon after, we headed to a ticket window so we could get the event tickets to buy food and drink. I purchased ten tickets, with which I bought one cheap Miller Lite and one traditional Irish pretzel dog. The pretzel dog was certainly tastier than the Miller. Not soon after, I ran into my wonderful entrepreneurship professor, Professor White. We had a nice chat, took a selfie, then she appropriately insulted me on my beer choice. Oddly enough, shortly before we left, there was a wedding ceremony in the space where the hay bale toss had just occurred. A nice romantic event, though I am still not sure why they chose to have it during the Celtic Classic.img_3604

Not long after, Pants, James, and I decided our time to depart was upon us. After crossing the New St. bridge, we decided to stop by Sotto Santi’s for a short pit stop before making our trek up the mountain. A five dollar cheesesteak, two dollar pint, and spirited conversation with our lovely server were just what we needed to fuel the rest of our walk. We all proceeded to nap when we reached our destination, a very full afternoon behind us. I would heartily recommend it to any person within driving distance of Bethlehem, as there is much fun to be had for people of all ages. I look forward to coming back next year, so long as it is feasible. Celtic Classic has been great to me these past four years, and I would hate for another event to get in the way of it. Visit or ask any enthusiastic patrons of years past to find additional information on the Celtic Classic. For information on Bonn Place Brewing visit or visit their location at 310-14 Taylor Street, Bethlehem Pennsylvania.

Getting Caught in a Pickle in NYC

Singaporean girl’s first time in New York City. What could go wrong?  

66 degrees, Sunday afternoon. New York City was blanketed in a soft screen of lull, her air crisp but yet still buzzing with the rippling effects of the annual Global Citizens Festival that happened just the day before. My friends and I decided to head into the city for the weekend, not because of THE concert of the year (Rihanna was there and a little birdy told me her performance was absolute top-notch), but because of this:


In picture: My very kind and obliging friends, Nienke and Annie

Okay fine. So I was the only one really interested in the event but come on- when else would a Singaporean girl get the chance to experience an authentic American festival happening right in the heart of the Big Apple?

The Lower East Side Pickle Day is an annual event, and fell on the 25th and 26th of September this year, from 12pm- 5pm. As most of our Saturday was spent with Annie’s family who graciously hosted (and fed) us for the weekend, we decided to go for the festival on Sunday instead. I found out about the event as I was trawling on Facebook for things to do in NYC, and luckily for me, their event page popped up.

Getting there was pretty easy as New York’s Annie’s home turf, and even though we got distracted on the train and took one stop too far, we managed to get to Orchard Street after a short ten-minute walk.



Guess what we saw on our way there? A filming notice for The Blacklist!

Even though the LESPickleDay committee posted a “Show me the way to Pickle Day!” video, I unfortunately didn’t see it until after the day of the event as they only posted it on the website, and not the event page which I referred to as my primary source of information. It really was quite a pity, as the video was not only informative and clear, but also pretty hilarious!

Upon arrival, we saw that the entire street was indeed transformed into a pickle bazaar filled with vendors offering both pickled and non-pickled treats, as promised on the website.



So. Many. People!

There were throngs and throngs of people, most of whom were congregating around specific stores. After a curious look-see, we found out that the longest lines originated from stalls that were offering free pickles. And naturally, as broke college students…

Other than normal pickles, there were also pickle-flavored foods- Pickle Spring Rolls, Pickle Onigiri, Pickle Popcorn and last but not least- Brine shots(?!)

There were also giant games and fun activities all around like pickle pull-ups, which made the event an even more family-friendly one.

After walking for about 15 minutes however, we realized that we were still no where close to the end of the bazaar. The lines of stalls just seemed to go on and on. Two other maps that were eerily similar to the the first map that we saw (that we naturally assumed to be the map of the entire bazaar) popped up every time we thought we reached the finish line. As much as I loved being at the bazaar, the idea of being trapped in a pickle world was a scary one, so it would definitely benefit both the organizers and attendees alike if the maps were uploaded onto the various social media platforms before the day itself!


Three streets are alive, with the smell ~PiCkl3s~

So at this point, you must be thinking that my title was an obvious click bait but I assure you that my greed for all things free landed me in a pitiable state that day.


Unidentified pepper: Said free thing that led me to my ultimate demise.

Call it karma, call it payback. Whichever way you see it, it hurt. So bad. In the beginning of my downfall I merely shed a few tears, and maybe a tad of my dignity because I’ve always prided myself in being to handle almost all kinds of spice. However later in the day on our way out of downtown Manhattan, the slight tugging sensation I had pushed to the back of my mind after leaving the bazaar grounds turned into a full fledge internal-stomach-squeeze sensation that had me doubling over in my subway seat. If you’re looking for some sort of visual documentation, I’m sorry but there isn’t any because I’m pretty sure I was on the literal verge of death.

But bad tummy aches aside, my first ever experience at an American festival has been a great one! Even though I’ve never been a big fan of pickles, this experience showed me that it definitely is more than just a salty vegetable. The bazaar was an eye-opener with an amazing an countless vendors and pickles of every imaginable variety available.

Alas since this is only a yearly affair, you’ll have to wait till next year to attend Pickle Day 2017. However, if you’re really interested, go ahead and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep yourselves in the loop!

Do you know of any other similar niche festivals (or anything else, really) in the US happening from now all the way through January next year? If you do, comment and let me know! Since I’m only a semester exchange student, I’ll attempt to do my utmost to conquer them all (with caution, that is).


Till next time! 🙂


Running Through a Cornfield

This previous weekend I set out to run a 5k race through a cornfield about 35 minutes away from Lehigh’s campus. The race was roughly 3.2 miles winding through cornfields and pumpkin patches across rather tough terrain for running but it wasn’t terribly difficult as I ran cross country on similar courses through high school and continue to run where ever I can today. There was roughly 3000 people registered for the event but I believe about a 1000 more showed up to run and register at the event. The course was a little crowded but a lot of fun and at the end it came down to a winding course through img_0266

a tall cornfield and you appeared at the finish line where people were crowded around waiting with water and medals for participating. The race was not for speed and we did not run very fast but some how managed to be in the low 80s out of the couple 1000 that ran the race which was a nice surpriseimg_0276

As you can see my parking spot was directly next to the finish line making the whole experience very easy and therefore less stressful. The website for the event is for those looking to get involved in the future. I would highly recommend the event as I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to participating in similar things in the future.

Terror Behind the Walls

It’s that time of year again! Fall, pumpkin spice, Halloween and haunted attractions are everywhere. Every September my Girlfriend and I plan out which haunted events we want to attend. Our favorites are Six flag’s fright fest, the Bates Motel, Eastern State Penitentiary, and Pennhurst Asylum. They are all unique in their own way while all being thrilling and exciting each time. This year since we are both in college we don’t have that much spare time to travel far to haunted attractions so our planning had to consider our time.

We drew up a list of ten different attractions and how far away they are from where we live. Each weekend we see how much time we can allot to our experiences and we then pick from the list what attraction can accommodate our time parameters. Last weekend Eastern State Penitentiary was the attraction we chose to visit. We have gone the past two years to the Terror Behind the Walls event they host. The historic atmosphere where dangerous criminals were held and the eerie abandoned buildings give this event a uniquely frightening feeling. Although this year, they have upgraded their experience above and beyond the normal scare.


Eastern State Penitentiary added the Hex Challenge into their event. This is an additional charge admission event that allows you to experience more than the regular walk through to the six different events they offer. This Hex Challenge is a mix between a quest and an escape room puzzle. I went into the event completely open minded and was unsure what exactly I would be doing. By the end I couldn’t stop smiling from how thrilled, amused, and impressed I was with what the Terror Behind the Walls had presented this year.

The evening started by deciding what we wanted to eat for dinner. We decided that Chipotle was a quick, easy cleanup choice that would allow for us to spend more time enjoying the event rather than eating.

The experience starts when you arrive at the massive wall encompassing several city blocks. There are actors dressed up on the sidewalk helping those find their way to where to enter as well as getting them warmed up for the scary creatures that await inside. Next you go through security, then sign a waiver (adds to the “what’s going to happen to me” factor). Next you check in with which program you are doing. Express passes and Hex Challenge enter one line and speed to the front. Then herded into a briefing room to learn the rules and proper ways to act. The biggest decision comes next: you decide whether or not you want the monsters to be able to touch you. This is decided by a glow in the dark necklace you get to wear. I highly encourage everyone to opt into this part of the experience. Especially because it can be taken off at any moment and thrown to the ground preventing the monsters from touching you. There is also the option to get some “blood” placed on your cheek to be dressed up like the actors. There are six different areas that everyone walks (some run) through. The neat thing is that all the areas are the cell blocks to the historic prison system where actual criminals stayed. The Hex challenge adds a backstory to connect all six areas with a story line. This was a nice feature that is very different from previous years. Before each area you are briefed with the situation and are asked to accomplish a task before being thrust into the normal action of the experience. It’s a very personal experience which gives you the fright of interacting one-on-one with the actors and your group. I’m not going to give any spoilers to the Hex challenge, but you do get to go down a slide into a ball pit!

Once you escape from the Penitentiary and the last area of the experience you are let out into a courtyard where there is a food stand, a gift shop, and the entrance to another great addition this year: a speakeasy. This was one of the more fascinating areas to experience. It costs $10 to enter, but you get a complimentary drink (alcoholic or a soda) and access to some nice entertainment. This speakeasy is a hall of the Penitentiary that has been converted into a temporary lounge. There are a few of the cells open for you to go in with your group and relax after being scared for the past hour. In these cells there are different attractions. One cell has a museum exhibit that is unexplainable. Other cells have a fortune teller, a blackjack table for a chance to win a piece of chocolate, some furniture to sit and listen to the phonograph playing and take in what it felt like to live in a cell in the Penitentiary. Finally, the speakeasy includes a view of the famous Al Capone’s cell just how it was when he stayed there.

Everything about this experience was thrilling, exciting, and memorable in the best way. The Hex challenge was a great new way to interact with the actors and get an immersive experience. The Speakeasy afterwards was an era appropriate display which allowed me to calm down after the heart racing adventure. I would really enjoy doing this again and it’s a great start to a new type of haunted attractions. I would advise the event planners to put more publicity on the speakeasy since it was a historic touch that was the perfect end to the night and I wish more people got to experience it. I can’t possibly give you the feeling of the experience so I dare you to try and escape from Eastern State Penitentiary for yourself. Good luck.