Ah, spring is finally here. After a mediocre winter it doesn’t seem like the wait took that long, but it’s great to wear a t-shirt again. Baseball, beers, and outdoor activities abound. Here’s a guide of what to do and see this spring in the valley:
It being the first day of spring, every Rita’s location will be dishing out a free small Italian ice. Even if you don’t feel like braving the lines today, an Italian ice is a great treat on a warm spring day. We don’t usually endorse hitting up a chain, but you’re not going to find Swedish Fish Italian Ice anywhere else.
We’re cautiously endorsing Mayfair this year. Last year was lacking, both in acts and subtstance. Mayfair seems to be upping the ante this year, bringing in new booking directors and a new executive director intent on expanding the arts & crafts portion of the festival. The Ott Street entrance has long been a wasteland of military recruiters, people selling home windows, and other nonsense. This will be replaced with an artisan showcase, hopefully drawing more festival-goers to that area and spreading out the crowds. With those changes and hopefully better/bigger musical talent Mayfair can at least partially return to its former glory.
Spring on Fourth
We hit this up for the first time last year (and judged it). It’s basically a giant chili cook-off spread throughout the southside of Bethlehem featuring artists and bands scattered around the area as well. It’s very well-attended (passes sell out, so get them now) and there’s lots of booze to go around considering that many of the cook-off contestants are bars. In fact, there was so much booze last year that by the time 6pm rolled around things got really, really hazy. And the next day was one of the worst in recent memory. Stock up on heartburn medicine and Gatorade before this one.
Unfortunately scheduled the same day as Spring on Fourth this year, Sundaze is free concert put on by Lehigh University every year. This year they’ll be hosting Slightly Stoopid. Last year they were a strict on their student only/ID required policy so if you’re looking to sneak in, good luck.
Hit a Winery
There’s a lot of local vineyards that feature patios or outdoor places to sit, enjoy the sun, and grab a glass (or bottle) of wine. A favorite place to relax of ours is Vynecrest winery.
Nothing screams spring like hanging out at the ballpark, having a beer and hot dog while catching the game. Luckily for you Coca Cola Park is in the Lehigh Valley and a really cheap alternative to attending a Phillies game. Tickets will run you $6 at the cheapest and $14 for the best. Compared to the insane rates Phillies tickets can go for, that’s a hell of a bargain. Also, $3 for parking vs. $15 is a welcome respite for the wallet. The park itself is beautiful, the food options decent for ballpark food, and they even have Brew Works beer on tap.
Drink With The Season
Heavy imperial stouts, whiskey, and huge red wines don’t exactly go well with warm weather. Now that the weather is inching ever-closer to the mid-80’s it’s time to work with the season. We’ve done extensive drinking research and here’s what we recommend for the season.
Victory Prima Pils
A hoppy pilsner brewed in Philly. Widely regarded as the quintessential American pilsner.
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
Less bite than Prima Pils and still local. Comes in cans for those outdoor outings. Smooth and only. 4.9%.
Southampton Double White
Boozier than your usual witbier, coming in at a respectable 6.7%. Great option if you’re looking for a bigger beer buzz but still want something refreshing.
Stoudt’s Karnival Kolsch
A beautiful, extremely crisp beer that’s perfect for those really warm spring days. You can have a bunch since they clock in at 4.8% and they’ll carry you right into the summer.
Anything using the following:
Bluecoat Gin (distilled in Philly)
St Germain (elderflower liquer)
Domaine De Canton (ginger liquer)
And lots of fruit/other ingredients like lime, lemon, grapefruit, tangerines, rose petals, lavender, thyme, mint, cilantro, and rosemary.
Anything white. Be on the lookout for vinho verde. It’s a white wine from South American that has extremely light frizzante carbonation to it, just to give a tingle.