Trappe Community Day celebrates 10th anniversary on Sept. 14 at Water Works Park

Americana singer-songwriter Jeff Umbehauer will perform with two bands during Trappe Community Day.
Americana singer-songwriter Jeff Umbehauer will perform with two bands during Trappe Community Day.

Does history repeat itself, or do stories just get better over time? A walk down Trappe’s 300-year-old historic district any sunny Saturday might divulge the answer, but only a party at the park —the 10th Annual Trappe Community Day at Water Works Park, Saturday, Sept. 14 — proves that Trappe’s history is present in this community that celebrates friends, family and fun with a bigger and better hometown hoedown each year.

Everyone, be they family, friend or Fido, is welcome and all the entertainment is free

Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with a welcome by Mayor Connie Peck, the National Anthem being sung by Lori Ann O’Lock and a tribute to the military and first responders, shining a light on Trappe’s sense of gratitude and patriotism.

By the time the sun is high in the sky, fun takes center stage. Community Music School’s Bailout Adult Jazz Ensemble, then Rock and Roll after School Super Group, get everyone warmed up, toe-tapping and maybe even all-out dancing barefoot on the soft green grass.


The tempo changes as world-class magician and illusionist Clive Allen mystifies the audience. Laughter and awes of cuteness ensue with the Doggy Talent Contest.

Meanwhile, at the Children’s Pavilion, kids too full of energy to sit around the main stage can enjoy the hypnotic magic of a moon bounce and even a performance just for the wee ones — the Gene Galligan Musical Puppet Show.

Event chair John Pelosi said of the ample children’s entertainment, “We want it all free…We don’t want a child to not get their face painted by the clowns, or not ride a pony … or miss the bounce house or the rock wall because of cost. That’s something. All the children’s entertainment is free.”

So just this once it’s okay to run, bungee jump and play in the parking lot, where a rock climbing wall grows from the asphalt and Children’s Petting Zoo nestles between reflective painted lines. Some familiar friends will be playing there too — Screw Ball, the Reading Phillies’ mascot, and Brusters’ mascot Scoop.

Adults needn’t idle either, as plenty of vendors will sell their wares. And since when is food ever tastier than at the town fair?

Pelosi said, “The special stuff to me is when I’m walking around and I see food vendors sell out by 2 p.m. That’s cool. This lasts until 4:30.” Take heed and get the festival munchies in before the lights go up for the Jeff Umbehauer Band.

After a fun day of tossing a ball around the park, running around to see and do everything Trappe has to offer, what could be better than sitting on a picnic blanket with your favorite festival food, family and friends listening to the kind of Americana music that puts all of this life into perspective, played by people who might as well be your neighbors?

It’s hard to shine a spotlight on Jeff Umbehauer, possibly because the dynamic musician won’t, well, alight somewhere.

He’s singing, he’s writing song lyrics or stories for the kids in his family, he is teaching or playing in two different bands in one show, as he sometimes does, to give his audience a taste of bluegrass with Blackjack and a heaping helping of Americana with the band, or as just now, he’s winding down from the excitement of his latest gig, and in a hurry to mow his lawn before the sun goes down — the picture of an ordinary citizen with extraordinary perspective, passion and perspiration.

Yes, he makes it hard for a spotlight to follow because Umbehauer really wants all the light to shine on his family and friends, his bands, all the guys he has played with, his music students, the plants he nurtures in his garden and Ella, his dog.

You only have to look into his eyes to see it, and if you look deeply into the eyes of his current Facebook photo, you’ll see his life, reflected back in his dark sunglasses gracing the eyes of Ella, just hanging out by the camp stove in the woods with those they care about. That life filled with community, purpose and love reflects back in his lyrics and melodies.

“I don’t put my face in there — that’s not what it’s about,” he says of both his music and his Facebook photo.

As much as Trappe will shine a light upon itself this Community Day, all of the residents and neighbors will simply reflect it back.