It’s the calm before the storm – less than a month before Berks Country Fest kicks off June 2.
I recently sat down for a quick chat with Alicia Marinelli, sponsorship development coordinator for Pretzel City Productions.
A Wilkes-Barre native, Alicia lived in New York City for a few years before returning to Pennsylvania and settling down in Kutztown.
Q: You’ve been very active in event planning in previous positions. What experience have you had and what have you learned?
A: I worked for the (Lehigh Valley) IronPigs for three and a half years in the marketing arm of the IronPigs. I worked at Madison Square Garden from 2007 until the IronPigs.
(Madison Square Garden) was a really cool experience. I’m from rural PA, so it was a learning experience as far as culture.
Q: What kinds of things did you do at Madison Square Garden?
A: We would ask celebrities to get on the video board. I met Jay Z, Beyonce, John Legend, Magic Johnson …
I scheduled halftime acts and worked in event presentation. We created memories, things that people remember forever. I primarily worked for the Knicks, but also worked Rangers and WNBA games.
Q: What do you think is unique about this area?
A: There is so much culture here. I see it most living in Kutztown with the German heritage. We have really cool things here that need to be preserved. This area holds onto that culture. It needs to be passed along, or we lose it forever.
Q: What is unique about Berks Country Fest?
Berks Country Fest, in year three, is just getting its legs. Last year, we had 88 events in 14 days. This year, the fest is 17 days and even more events. It’s really a community festival; it includes music, arts, outdoor recreation and cultural activities. There’s something for everyone.
And it’s a community effort; everyone is pulling for it. It’s a kickoff to summer.
We “see” people through social media these days, so it’s good to see people out and about at community events.
Q: What’s your favorite moment from last year’s Berks Country Fest?
A: I was setting up at the DoubleTree one afternoon. I walked out of the hotel and saw G.E. Smith and members of the Blue Man Group jamming together at the community piano. I saw a father and his daughter watching, and told them who the musicians were, and suggested they get a picture with them, which they did. It was a cool moment.
Q: You’re a very busy person. When you do have free time, how do you like to spend it?
A: I like to be outdoors, hiking, biking or some activity. I attend community events and like to socialize with people.
So … if you see Alicia out and about during Berks Country Fest – which you most definitely will – be sure to say hi! She’ll be thrilled to meet you.
— Dana L. Hoffman