And the Scarecrow Contest Winners are...

Congratulations to our Scarecrow Contest winners!

1st Place -- A tie between YMCA of Reading and Destination Realty
2nd Place -- I-LEAD Charter School
3rd Place -- Council On Chemical Abuse

A special thanks to this year's judges - Levi Landis, Executive Director of GoggleWorks Center for the Arts; a class of pre-school students at the YMCA of Reading; and Christian Vazquez, a sixth-grade student at Southern Middle School.

And thanks to the other businesses and organizations that submitted entries: Abilities in Motion; Children's Home of Reading; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel; Liberty Environmental; Olivet Boys & Girls Club; Prospectus Berco; Reading Recreation at 11th and Pike and Third and Spruce; and Reading Public Library.

The scarecrows are still up, some come down to the 400 and 500 blocks of Penn Street to check them out!

1st Place Tie -- YMCA of Reading and...

1st Place Tie -- YMCA of Reading and...

Destination Realty!

Destination Realty!

Our Scarecrows are out and about downtown!


You're invited to check out all the fantastic entries in our Scarecrow Contest! You can see them in person in the 400 and 500 blocks of Penn Street. Can't make it downtown? Then here's a peek at all the creative submissions. We want to thank everyone who participated. And we regret to say that two scarecrows -- one from the Reading Public Library and another from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel -- were vandalized and had to be taken down. We appreciate all the hard work that the library and the hotel put into creating their scarecrows. And we thank everyone who participated in this year's contest! 

Our latest newsletter features Pumpkin Palooza and Harvest Fest!


Check out our latest newsletter to find out about Pumpkin Palooza, a family-fun event at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 14 from noon to 4 p.m. And read about Harvest Fest, a celebration of the end of Penn Street Market on Friday, October 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Oakbrook Brewing Company. All this and more right here!

First-Ever Reading Blues Fest Coming Up!

Reading Blues Fest logo.jpg

Kick the post-summer blues with a new kind of blues -- Reading Blues Fest! This first-ever blues festival is coming to Reading October 6-8. Featuring big-time blues acts -- with nearly all the musical venues in and around downtown Reading -- this is going to be BIG. Read all about Reading Blues Fest in our latest newsletter right here. Also highlighted in this edition is Pumpkin Palooza at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 14, and info for entering our annual Scarecrow Contest. Check it all out today!

Tap Into Your Creativity -- Enter Our Scarecrow Contest!

Tap Into Your Creativity -- Enter Our Scarecrow Contest!

Just in time for the start of fall -- our annual Scarecrow Contest! We're looking for entries from businesses, organizations, clubs, families, schools and churches. Entrants are encouraged to create whimsical, humorous, mischievous or lovable scarecrows, which will be put up for display the week of October 9 along Penn Street in downtown Reading.

To be part of this free contest, participants must register by October 4. Registration information is available here, and additional information about the contest can be found here. For questions, contact the Improvement District’s office at 610-376-6424.

The scarecrows will be judged the week of October 9 and first, second, and third place ribbons will be awarded.

Free Upcoming Performance of "Dreamgirls" Highlighted in Latest Newsletter

Genesius-DreamGirls-backside shot.jpg

Read all about a free performance of "Dreamgirls" by Genesius Theatre on Sunday, September 17 in downtown Reading in our latest newsletter here. Also in this addition is information on the upcoming Reading Blues Fest in early October, as well as an article on a new Caribbean barbecue restaurant in the 1000 block of Penn Street. 

Last Free Downtown Alive Concert On Wednesday!


The last free Downtown Alive outdoor concert for this year is coming your way on Wednesday, August 30 at 5 p.m. in the 500 block of Penn Street in downtown Reading. The show will feature Latino favorites 24 Horas, George Lamond and Funk Salsa Urban. 

Find out more about the concert in our latest newsletter here.

Also in this edition is info on our last MidDay Cafe concert this season on Wednesday, September 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the courtyard behind the Penn Square Center at Sixth and Penn Streets. And see what a bunch of Albright College students did voluntarily to spruce up the 400 block of Penn Street downtown!

A Solar Eclipse Party Coming To Downtown Reading!

Check out our latest newsletter to learn all about the solar eclipse party being presented by the Reading Public Library on Monday, August 21! Also included in this edition is a call for sponsors of Pumpkin Palooza, as well as an article praising the Reading Police Department's commitment to providing a police presence in center city Reading. You'll find it all right here.


The Go Go Gadjet concert scheduled for this Friday, May 5 in downtown Reading has been canceled because of the major threat of inclement weather. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The following is what was previously posted:

Here's your chance to see Go Go Gadjet for free in downtown Reading! The popular regional band will appear in the 500 block of Penn Street on Friday, May 5 from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m., followed by other live music. Three pop-up bars presented by Trooper Thorns, food trucks, and food stands will create a block party atmosphere during the night.

The free concert is being funded by the Berks County Arts Fund of Berks County Community Foundation and is being managed by Reading Downtown Improvement District.

This event is part of the festivities being held in conjunction with the 30th annual MDA Ride for Life, which will be held at the Reading Fairgrounds in Bern Township on May 6 and 7.

Two Public Information Sessions About Penn Street Bridge Reconstruction Planned for April 11

Find out what's going on regarding the reconstruction of the Penn Street Bridge! Two public information sessions will be held on April 11 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, 701 Penn Street. To learn more, follow the links below:

Morning Session:

Evening Session:

City of Reading announces emergency planning in advance of snowstorm; Downtown Improvement District Office closed on Tuesday, 3/14 because of pending storm

The City of Reading today announced emergency plans in advance of the major snowstorm expected to hit the area tonight and into tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14)..

Also, the Reading Downtown Improvement District office will be closed tomorrow, March 14, because of the expected adverse weather.

Here is a press release issued by the City regarding its emergency plans for the snowstorm:


Reading, Pa – March 13, 2017 – Mayor Wally Scott held the first of a series of meetings with key departments this morning to continue the emergency planning for the impending storm.

* Recycle and trash collection has been cancelled for tomorrow.  The schedule will be pushed back one day. 

*The City Public Works Department will run 20-24 trucks on 12 hour shifts round the clock until the storm ends. 

*The Reading Parking Authority will open the Parking Garages at 9:00 p.m. tonight for resident parking.  Cars may remain in the garages until 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.  Cars must be removed by 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

*BARTA has not yet made a decision on it’s service during the storm.

*Another update meeting has been scheduled for 4:00 p.m. today

Listed below are some reminders for residents:

*Please do not throw snow in the street as it makes for difficult travel and creates a problem for emergency vehicles

*Please dig out fire hydrants near your property in case an emergency arises

*Reserving parking spaces on public streets is not permitted

*Please help elderly neighbors and those with disabilities with snow removal

*All property maintenance inspections scheduled for Tuesday are cancelled.  You will be notified of the rescheduled date. 

*For updates please consult the City of Reading website and social media pages

Mayor Scott would like to thank every resident in advance for their cooperation to get the City cleared as quickly as possible.  Your patience is greatly appreciated as we work round the clock to clean the snow.

Additional updates will be sent as necessary.

Dunkin' Donuts and Barato Department Store Now Open For Business in Downtown Reading

Dunkin' Donuts and Barato Department Store Now Open For Business in Downtown Reading

Please take some time to visit these new businesses that are now open in downtown Reading:

 Dunkin’ Donuts opened its newest location at 645 Penn Street in December. Owners Mark Zlocki and Kimberly Farry have six other franchise locations in the area. They expect to see robust activity at their downtown store since it’s centrally sandwiched between offices, the DoubleTree Hotel, and Santander Arena.

Approximately 40 people have been hired to work in the store, but more employees may be added if activity picks up because of events at the arena, according to the owners. The store is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but may have extended evening hours to accommodate night-time events at the arena.

Barato Department Store recently opened at 301 Penn Street near the intersection of Third and Penn Streets. The shop offers furniture, stereos, televisions, draperies, and cell phones. The Penn Street store is the second one to be opened by Lapel Guiaro, who also has a location at 801 Oley Street. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Welcome to our new neighbors in downtown Reading!

2017 Property Assessment Payments Now Being Accepted

2017 Property Assessment Payments Now Being Accepted

Property owners in the Reading Downtown Improvement District (DID) should soon be receiving their DID assessment notices for 2017. If you do not receive your assessment notice within the next few weeks, please contact the DID office at 610-376-6424.

Full payments received by April 30, 2017 will qualify for a 2 percent discount. A flat payment will apply for payments made between May 1 and June 30, 2017. A 10 percent penalty will be applied for payments received after June 30, 2017.

Optional installments may be made in the following manner:

Installment #1 due by April 30, 2017.
Installment #2 due by June 15, 2017.
Installment #3 due by July 31, 2017.
Installment #4 due by August 15, 2017.

Please note that installment payments include a $5.00 administrative fee per payment. Late installment payments are subject to penalties.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to: Reading DID.Payments should be mailed to:

Reading Downtown Improvement District Authority
P.O. Box 1555
Reading, Pa. 19603-1555

Payments can also be made at the DID office at 645 Penn Street, Suite 505 (fifth floor). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



A photo collage from Reading Fire + Ice Fest 2017!

A photo collage from Reading Fire + Ice Fest 2017!

We hope you made it to the annual Reading Fire + Ice Fest on January 13 and 14. But just in case you missed this fun-filled weekend, we’ve put together a collage of photos from the event in our latest newsletter. Just click here.

You can find a lot more photos on the official Reading Fire + Ice Fest website at Click on “PHOTOS + VIDEO” at the top of the page to access photo galleries from 2017 as well as 2016 and 2015.

Reading Fire + Ice Fest is supported in large part by a generous grant from the Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support and enjoy Berks County’s premier winter festival!

Reading Fire + Ice Fest Is This Weekend!

Reading Fire + Ice Fest Is This Weekend!

Coming this Friday and Saturday — Reading Fire + Ice Fest! Berks County’s premier winter event will feature something for everyone. And it’s all in downtown Reading! Read all about it — including a list of events — in the latest edition of our newsletter right here.

We hope you’ll join us for all the fun and excitement of Reading Fire + Ice Fest!

The Chills and Thrills of Reading Fire + Ice Fest Coming Soon!

The Chills and Thrills of Reading Fire + Ice Fest Coming Soon!

Reading Fire + Ice Fest, the flagship winter festival of Berks County, will return to downtown Reading for its third year next month! Produced and organized by the Reading Downtown Improvement District, the festival will take place January 13-14, kicking off on Friday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the 500 block of Penn Street.

The fest will again feature a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities, including a chili cook-off, Snowfall Ball, professional ice-carving competitions, fire performances, an ice wine bar, live music, and food trucks. All outdoor activities will again be free, and the chili cook-off and Snowfall Ball will have nominal entry fees.

The chili cook-off and Snowfall Ball will be held Saturday. Times and locations will be announced later, as will the band that will be performing at the Ball.

Following up their dazzling fire performances during the second Fire + Ice Fest will be Madeleine Belle from Philadelphia and Burning Hearts Fire & Light Theater from Allentown.  They will be performing both nights of the festival.

DID will once again be bringing on Sculpted Ice Works, located near Scranton, Pa., to create the ice sculpture displays on both days of the festival. The company will also coordinate the ice-carving competitions on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Established in 1999, Sculpted Ice Works is a full-service ice event company with several members of the National Ice Carving Association, and is owned by Mark Crouthamel, a carver with over 20 years of experience under his belt.

Several festival sponsorship opportunities are now available.
They include:

  • Signature Sponsor
  • Snowfall Ball Sponsor
  • Chili Cook-off Sponsor
  • Carving Demonstration and Competition Sponsors
  • Ice Sculpture Sponsors

Companies, organizations and individuals can sponsor custom-made ice sculptures as well as larger sculptures. Additional sponsorship details are available by contacting the Improvement Office weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 610-376-6424.

Tied into the 2017 festival will be a special event at Santander Arena – World Championship Ice Racing on Friday night at 7:30. The show will feature the toughest, fastest and most extreme flat track motorcycle and A.T.V. racers in the world.

Reading Fire + Ice Fest is supported in large part by a generous grant from the Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation.

Look for more information coming soon to the official Reading Fire + Ice Fest website at