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October in the Poconos: From Hispanic Heritage Month to Halloween

October has come and gone. And what a month it has been.

From civic engagement discussions to live music, poconoMEZCLA has been out on the streets of Monroe County meeting our wider Poconos arts community. We still haven't been able to get out to everywhere we want, and need, to be.

Today, on All Hallow's Eve, the start of a holy week for those who celebrate holidays like Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Angelitos, All Saint's Day and All Souls Day, Micaela and I are looking back on our coverage this month, and getting ready for another month of good times in the Poconos.

Hispanic Heritage Month in the Poconos: Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

A passista wows crowds at Pocono Latin Fest.
A passista wows crowds at Pocono Latin Fest.

Micaela and I attended three amazing events to celebrate the unique Latino culture that is emerging in the Poconos. First: Pocono Latin Fest's 10th anniversary extravaganza, which saw thousands of people living it up and celebrating their cultures at East Stroudsburg University. Check out a photo gallery highlighting the festivities here.

Next: We attended ESU's Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff with a presentation on civic engagement with Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez. The event saw members of the ESU community, as well as others from the Monroe County area taking a hard look at what could be holding them back from becoming more engaged in local civics.

And finally, we attended an open workshop/discussion at the Hughes Library in Stroudsburg, held by FLECHA Poconos. The event was titled Voces del Pueblo, and focused on discussing the needs and issues faced by Monroe and Pike County's Latinx communities.

Dr. Anthony Stevens-Arroyo leads a presentation on civics at Hughes Library.
Dr. Anthony Stevens-Arroyo leads a presentation on civics at Hughes Library.

Read the blog post I wrote about the event here, in Spanish or English.

FLECHA gave Micaela and I the floor after the workshop closed to talk about MEZCLA and our goals. The key takeaway: People of color have long expressed their struggles, hopes and dreams via the arts. Whether that be through painting, poetry or music, we've always found a way to share our voice with the world. That's the mission behind MEZCLA.

Rhythm and Brews highlights diversity of Pocono music

Sol Katana and bandmates light up the small stage at ShawneeCraft.
Sol Katana and bandmates light up the small stage at ShawneeCraft.

In early October, Micaela and I headed over to Shawnee on Delaware for ShawneeCraft Brewery's Oktoberfest.

Full disclosure: I had plenty of reason to be there. My husband, Tom Pfendt, recently joined up with local rising star Sol Katana as a guitarist in his band.

It was Tom's first live gig in years, and I was so proud to be there and watch the magic happen. Sol Katana, led by Mike Lloret as Sol himself, has a unique approach to the music they play. The band itself (the regular lineup has local legend Sideshow Skip Detrick on hand percussion, drummer Brian Smith and Ian Detrick on bass) has a palpable chemistry, and the covers feel like jivey originals.

Sol's original music is catchy... total earworms, all of them. I'm not just saying that because I have a reason to be biased. Sol Katana makes music that blends a spacey, tropical funk and a dash of rock and roll... the secret ingredient might just be the fact that Sol throws in a bit of Latino sazon.

After the concert, I started reading into the lineup for Shawnee's Rhythm and Brews series, which led me to appreciate the diversity of acts that come on to the small stage.

Read more about the Oktoberfest show and check out the lineup for upcoming Rhythm and Brews installments here in Spanish or English.

A spooky roadtrip to Bethlehem

Justin Torok of
Justin Torok of

A few weeks ago, I got to tag along with Micaela for her day job at (affiliated with PBS 39 and the Lehigh Valley NPR station) to help out on the photography front.

The assignment, take snapshots during her interview with Lehigh Valley ghost hunter Justin Torok of Ghost Encounters. Fun fact: Justin's first real investigation took place at the Candle Shoppe of the Poconos (the one across 611 near Sanofi). He also attended ESU! Small world.

Learn more about Torok's YoutTube channel and check out his videos and podcast by heading to

What's next: Halloween at Sarah Street

Members of Sick Whiskey bring the house down at Stonehaus Meadery in Stroudsburg.
Members of Sick Whiskey bring the house down at Stonehaus Meadery in Stroudsburg.

No stranger to small stages in the Stroudsburg area are local favorites Sick Whiskey.

I was lucky enough to catch a set over the weekend at the Stonehaüs Meadery Halloween Party on the 28th. If Creedence Clearwater Revival had a baby with a punk band like Rancid (OK that's me being subjective... I'm not sure if you'd agree) you'd have Sick Whiskey.

They're playing at Sarah Street tonight for All Hallow's Eve. I'll be there on time.

See Sick Whiskey at Sarah Street from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Oct. 31 (after the kids are done trick or treating!) and make sure you wear your favorite costume.

We are looking for more bands to cover, as well as art galleries in Monroe County. Follow us on Instagram @poconoMEZCLA and tag us in your next promo post to let us know when your next event is.

What we are looking forward to next month: More live music, and holiday-themed events! You won't want to miss our coverage.



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