A Big Night in Tamaqua

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TAMAQUA -- Dozens of volunteers spent the day getting ready for a big night in a Schuylkill County community.

There's the Kidz Karnival, National Night Out, and Dear Tamaqua, with much of it all taking place right at the Tamaqua train station.

First up, the annual Kidz Karnival has games, food and fun for the little ones.

"To get the community together, to have a good time and to laugh," said Major Sharon Whispell from the Tamaqua Salvation Army.

The Kidz Karnival is also one of the biggest fundraisers for the Tamaqua Salvation Army, raising about $10,000 every year for programs.

"We do a lot from Christmas and Thanksgiving meals, Christmas presents, youth programs, senior programs, social services and it takes money," said Maj. Whispell.

At the same time as the Kidz Karnival, there's another event going on: Dear Tamaqua. It's been two years in the making and it's all about what people think of the place, whether they love it or hate it.

"We gave them the prompt 'Dear Tamaqua,' and then they wrote whatever they wanted. It could be hopes, dreams, memories, fears or aspirations for the community," said Micah Gursky, Tamaqua borough council president.

About 600 people wrote letters about whatever they wanted, the focus just had to be on Tamaqua.

Many people focused on the future or and the legacy of its past, including when Tamaqua was a bustling city as seen in a film from the 1930s.

The Tamaqua Community Arts Center and borough safety program came up with the "Dear Tamaqua" idea.

Now, the Touchstone Theater out of Bethlehem is bringing it to life with about a mile-long walk through the borough.

"Imagine Tamaqua, the community, as a stage and there's a theater production that you walk through," said Gursky.

Even with all the events, some people still look forward to the simple things, like Tyler Vantaggi of Kulpmont, who just wants some ice cream!

The night will wrap up around 10 p.m. with fireworks near the Tamaqua train station.

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