Fleetwood Homecoming Festival features Amish Mafia, X-Games Champion, car show, rides

Patriot photos by Roxanne Richardson Fleetwood Homecoming Festival: Camaro owner, Wendy Gist, Fleetwood, took a moment from the car show to pose for a pic with Jolin Zimmerman, reality celebrity from the Amish Mafia.

The 2nd annual Homecoming Festival drew crowds to Fleetwood this past weekend for entertainment, kids events, rides, Berks County Sheriff’s Safe Kids ID, car show and topped off with celebrities.

The Fleetwood Area Main Street Association organized festival featured guest appearances by Amish Mafia reality celebrity, Jolin Zimmerman (complete with body guards), and by X-Games World Champion, Matt Lindenmuth, a resident of Fleetwood who owns Saucony Creek Brewing Co. in Kutztown.

“The Fleetwood Area Main Street Association is totally responsible for today’s event (referring to the Saturday day events on Main Street, the Rec Board was responsible for the Friday night bonfire event),” said Mayor Tammy Gore. “Every single piece of it has added to this wonderful event. It’s just going to keep growing.”

According to Gore, last year at the evening festival in the park, they had prepared for 250 people and ended up with a total of more than 1,500 attendees. This year they had planned for 2,000 people with 15 different food stands, games, and rides.

“We had free things like the Moonbounce and we had things that you had to pay a small fee for, but we probably had an excess of 2,500 people last night,” said Gore. “So that feeds into this and it’s positive. It has been steady since ten o’clock and it’s come and go traffic. We’re in the thousands easily. This is the kind of thing that makes people want to get involved in it and it feeds off itself. It’s all positive and it’s awesome.”

Fleetwood’s homecoming spirit arrived in style. Fifty classic cars topped the event with a show of brilliant chrome amidst vibrant colors of candy apple red, deep sky blue, sunny yellow and even plum just to name a few.

“We thought a car show would be nice to help raise funds for the Main Street Association and a portion of the proceeds will go towards a scholarship for a Fleetwood senior this year,” said Gary Eberly.

“It’s awesome that we get together as a community and do something for everybody,” said Wendy Gist, Fleetwood. Gist had entered her Camaro in the car show.

Fleetwood Royal Court contenders, Elaina Hawkins and Matt Bogacki, took time to judge the cars while waiting for the evening game and the announcement of the Homecoming King and Queen winners.

“Through unity and getting together with this whole block party we’re able to show team spirit, community spirit,” said Hawkins.

During the Homecoming game, Killian Grider and Morgan Noll were crowned Homecoming King and Queen.

A highlight for festival goers was meeting Zimmerman of the Amish Mafia. Laurie Maruca just moved to Reading from California and loved the chance to meet Zimmerman as did her neighbor, John Gephart.

“I just think it’s really interesting; I would think that there could be an Amish Mafia. Why not?” asked Maruca.

“She’s got me hooked on it,” said Gephart.

Another highlight was a meet and greet with former X-Games World Champion, Matt Lindenmuth, who was also serving up his brew from Saucony Creek Brewing Co. The Kutztown native knew he would always move back to this area and settle in to hometown roots.

“I would love to be more involved in all community efforts. We do a lot with the water conservancy and the Schuylkill Action Network,” said Lindenmuth.

He started Saucony Creek Brewing about a year ago and wants to offer internship opportunities with Kutztown University.

“They’re trying to expand their science departments and obviously chemistry and the biology of beer is a major factor of everything in our quality control in our production.”

Lindenmuth was introduced to good beer while traveling and competing, an industry that literally raised him for 17 years. Not something he wanted to walk away from, when he came back home, his first thought was in crafting the fine beers he had come to love. He uses the brewery to stay in touch with the action sports world.

“The craft beer world is a very personable intimate small industry much like the action sports world was and in the action sports world, we were doing things in a rebellious fashion. We were doing it different than everybody else and that’s exactly what the craft beer world is doing,” said Lindenmuth.

The Fleetwood Grill at Simmeria was one of the original bars that had started carrying Saucony Creek’s beer. This will be the first year Lindenmuth is able to share his beer with everyone.

The Patriot previously published an error, incorrectly spelling the Homecoming King’s name. It should be Killian Grider. We regret this error.

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