By Christopher Holland • The Current Contributing Writer
Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe is an iconic entertainment venue in the region year-round, and as the warmer months are now upon us, the event center is gearing up for its summer deck parties and other events.
Each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, Penn’s Peak hosts its summer deck parties that showcase the very best in regional entertainment. Hosted on the patio of the Peak, local favorites including Craig Thatcher Band, Becky & The Beasts, Nightwind, The Large Flowerheads and more are slated to play during this year’s series.
Penn’s Peak hosts more than eighty concerts annually featuring the best in country, classic rock, jam bands, metal, blues, Americana and tribute bands.
“Our venue is very user friendly and there is not a bad seat in the house,” said Michael Cloeren, venue manager at Penn’s Peak.
“We were very proud of the fact that we were nominated in 2018 for Venue of the Year by the Academy Of Country Music,” he added.
Cloeren, 61, is originally from Philadelphia and relocated to the Poconos in 1976. He has an extensive background in the music industry, which makes him a perfect fit to run the acclaimed venue.
“I was the director for more than 80 national and regional music festivals including The Pocono /Pennsylvania Blues Festival from 1992-2016, which during it’s time was the recipient of Festival of the Year award in 1996, that attracted thousands of musicians and people annually from throughout the United States and Canada,” Cloeren said. “I was also The Philadelphia Folk Festival director from 2010-2014, which is the longest continuous music festival in the country, from 1962 to the present,” he said.
The Folk Festival features eight stages of music and 7,000 annual campers and is held in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania during the third weekend of August.
Cloeren has been the venue manager at Penn’s Peak since January, 2016.
He says that the Peak is very fortunate to have guests come from far and wide, from the Lehigh Valley, the Wyoming Valley, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York and New Jersey.
“We have been attracting many long-time customers at each event as well as many first-time guests to our venue,” he said.
One notable experience the venue provides to its guests is its Sneak Peak Club.
“At Penn’s Peak we currently have more than 800 Sneak Peak members that have joined in four categories,” he said.
Patrons can join the club as a groupie for $75, a stagehand for $125, a roadie for $250 and a headliner for $1,000.
Some of the many benefits of the club include a private lounge that features a beverage service, coat room, private restrooms, and music memorabilia on the walls. Other benefits are premium notification of shows, advance ticket purchases before public on-sale, entry into the venue through the VIP door, and reservation privileges at the Peak’s own Roadies Restaurant & Bar.
Roadies Restaurant & Bar is located upstairs in the venue and is open Wednesday through Sunday.
“The restaurant features a spectacular panoramic view and has a varied menu that has something for everyone’s palate,” Cloeren said.
Each year, Penn’s Peak hosts upwards of 18 luncheon shows during the months of May and October.
The luncheon shows feature a hearty meal and two sets of music by national tribute acts that showcase the music of Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Franki Valli, Johnny Cash, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers, among others.
“We have been presenting these shows since 2003,” Cloeren said.
Penn’s Peak is also actively involved with the local community.
Each year, the Peak works with several local community groups such as Blue Mountain Community Church during Easter and Christmas, presenting a church service.
On June 6, its hosting a 75th anniversary of D-Day, which will pay homage to WWII veterans and all whom have served. The day will feature music of The Swingtime Dolls, the singing of Ms. Emily McManaman, and a WWII film, The Longest Day. Proceeds from the event will benefit VALOR Clinic Foundation, BSA Troop 555, and other local nonprofits committed to supporting military veterans, developing leadership in youth, or promoting the United States and its military history.
Another major event the venue hosts each year in the Annual Cancer Telethon presented live on Blue Ridge channel 13. It is hosted annually the first weekend of April.
“Penn’s Peak is very active with working with companies in the community and is proud of our role in bringing tourism to the area with tens of thousands of customers visiting the local hotels, restaurants and other businesses before and after visiting Penn’s Peak,” Cloeren said.
For more information about upcoming shows and other events, visit www.pennspeak.com