Gatsby meets Boardwalk Empire
An estimated 200 people, many dressed in 1920s-style all-white costumes, braved rain and wind earlier this summer to attend Bethlehem's fourth annual "Rooftop White Party," jointly sponsored by the Downtown Bethlehem Association, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Bethlehem Parking Authority. Part of the proceeds from the event went to help fund a security system to protect the stalls of off-duty police horses that have been victims of intruder violence in the past.
This year's theme, "The Great Gatsby Meets the Boardwalk Empire," was the brainchild of Karen Merkel, owner of Girlfriends Boutique in downtown Bethlehem, and chair of the event. Merkel said the current release of the movie version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and the popularity of the Boardwalk television series made for a natural pairing.
The "Slicked-up Nine," an eight-piece swing band - yes, eight - helped set the mood and add to the festivities. Trophies were awarded to the best swing dancers, as well as to the best dressed flappers and their escorts.
Held on the top floor of the North Street Parking Garage, the rooftop party idea was created four years ago by downtown Bethlehem merchants, who wanted to create awareness of the then-new parking facility and attract residents to shop in the historic district.
Other sponsors this year were Girlfriends Boutique, BPS, 99.9 Hawk, Lehigh Valley Style, Haldeman Ford, Balloon Works, Bud Light, Valley Beat, and the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.