Hundreds turn out for Iron Works Blast
As cars crowded into the parking areas and guests lined up at a sign-in sheet at Saturday's Iron Works Blast, event organizer Christine Weaver fretted that the food trucks were late in arriving. Nearly 1,000 people showed for the inaugural party showcasing the Borough of Catasauqua's redevelopment project on Front Street.
The Catasauqua High School Marching Band serenaded guests as they walked from their cars to the party venue. It was the most activity the old Fuller Company's plate mill building had seen in more than a decade.
Inside, the food trucks did arrive. Geaker's Tacos, What the Fork and Gourmand Artisan Street Food provided specialty meals for the event. Drinks flowed freely, Tavern Tan played music and The Gas House Dance Hall presented a revue.
Although the portable propane heaters were no match for the blast furnace that once kept the building warm, the heaters were a natural gathering place on a chilly night. The huge building, with its 30-foot ceiling, provided plenty of space for the stage and for viewing a video that included showing the site from a "drone's-eye" point of view.
Weaver was pleased with the video, prepared for the occasion.
"Barb Schlegel [Catasauqua Borough mayor] did a great introduction and the aerial view really gave everyone a good perspective on how the site looks and how close it is to the river," she said..
Iron Works pint glasses proved to be good-selling souvenirs of the event. Nearly 100 were sold and used to catch beer from the taps provided by Historical Catasauqua Preservation Association.
Although guests from across the Lehigh Valley were invited, most were borough residents who showed up in droves.
"It's good that we see people from the borough here so they can see what they have," Weaver said.
Borough Councilman Vincent Smith, who had pursued the site's purchase for many years, agreed.
"I think the evening brought people out and they could see the potential," he said. "It's not some godforsaken contaminated place."
What is next for the site? Spillman Farmer Architects are developing architectural drawings for a new municipal complex. The next step might be a groundbreaking for a municipal building celebration in the spring.