Back Door Bakeshop participates in the annual Spring on Fourth Festival on Fourth Street on April 27, 2014. This year's festival will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Maggie Xu/B&W Staff)

Students to engage with South Side at community festival


As part of the Spring on the South Side community festival and chili cook-off, students in Lehigh’s art entrepreneurship community class, as well as Lehigh alumni, will be putting their artwork on display and offering items for sale at Farrington Square on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the past, this festival wasn’t well-known by the Lehigh community, as it was difficult to promote the event during the study period and finals. Last spring was the first time the entrepreneurship class didn’t struggle with promoting the event because Lehigh’s academic calendar had shifted.

Formerly known as Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third? this festival has been taking place for 20 years and has expanded to other streets and businesses in Bethlehem.

“The Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third? started with community business folks and advocates that wanted to try and dispel this notion of South Side being dangerous,” said professor Silagh White, the director of arts engagement & community relations. “That’s why it is now Spring on the SouthSide because the festival has grown to incorporate businesses on New Street and Fourth Street.”

This festival is continuing to grow each year with new events and attractions.

The Great SouthSide Chili Cook-Off was incorporated into the festival 12 years ago and features more than 15 entries of chili, ranging from mild to spicy to vegetarian, at locations such as Molly’s, Tally Ho and the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society. Attendants can purchase a “passport” to have 10 chili tastings for five dollars.

“The whole purpose of the festival is to engage foot traffic in the businesses in South Bethlehem, and the chili trail was designed so that people would have to walk from business to business and taste these chilies,” White said.

However, evening foot traffic, which is more common among Lehigh students, is different than daytime foot traffic. White said evening foot traffic doesn’t promote curiosity among the local stores and boutiques and does not benefit them because they close around 6 or 7 p.m. This festival is a chance to give those businesses an opportunity to be noticed.

Another event that is part of the festival is the 10th annual Cops ‘n’ Kids celebration of Reading…and the Arts and Sciences! which will take place in the Fowler Family Southside Center at the Northampton Community College on Saturday.

With the addition of the arts and science experiences, the Cops ‘n’ Kids celebration will include free books, free food, crafts, science experiments and entertainment featuring kids from many of the local schools.

Spring on the South Side added another event last year, South Side Arts Festival, which is hosted by ArtsQuest at the Banana Factory Arts Center. This festival will feature street performers, graffiti and chalk artists, dancers and face painters.

“So you have this big tent over at the Fowler Center, and then the other big festival happening at the Banana Factory, so that book-ends it,” White said. “The triangle’s peak up at Farrington Square is what we are doing in our class.”

Matthew Berland, ’17, said the class’s event at Farrington Square is a opportunity to bring both the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities together, and it will also allow students to appreciate other students’ artistic abilities.

Students from Lehigh’s Music Box will also be performing acoustic music sets during this event.

The new initiative to incorporate artwork into residence halls and Greek houses sparked the idea to host the art fair and showcase. The goal is to entice Lehigh students to attend “Spring in the South Side,” but the initiative also helps students learn how to take entrepreneurial opportunities and make connections with the community.

“Our vision in the Entrepreneurship 123 class is to have this event in Farrington Square bridge the gap between Lehigh students and South Bethlehem residents,” Celeen Hefele, ’16, said. “We wanted to create a platform where students could express their passion for art, while also making a profit and expose their work to the greater community.”

The students hope to create a more positive image of what the South Side has to offer.

“I think a lot of Lehigh students view the Bethlehem community in a negative light, but I think the truth is that the Bethlehem community has a lot to offer,” Berland said. “I hope through this event, through Farrington Square, they can maybe go out and explore more of the great things South Side has to offer.”

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply