ArtsQuest Renames Musikfest Founders Awards in Honor of Bethlehem Mayor Paul Marcincin


Capital BlueCross, Pennwood Financial Group, Christmas City Printing & Musikfest’s 35-year Volunteers to Receive New ‘Marcincin Awards’ on Festival’s Opening Night 

BETHLEHEM, PA—As the concept for a community festival known as Musikfest was being developed in 1984, one local government official played a pivotal role in helping to get the new but uncertain event off the ground.  

This year, as Musikfest gets set to celebrate its 35th year, ArtsQuest is renaming its annual Founders Awards in honor of that man, Bethlehem Mayor Paul Marcincin, and his lasting impact on the city and the festival. Recipients of the inaugural Marcincin Awards, to be presented Aug. 3 at Musikfest, are Capital BlueCross, Pennwood Financial Group, Christmas City Printing and Musikfest’s 35-year volunteers.  

“Our father’s undeniable affinity for Musikfest was deeply rooted. He loved the music, dancing and eating, but most of all how the festival brings together the community,” says Terry Marcincin, Paul’s son. “To make Musikfest a success, he understood collaboration was needed within various city resources. But most importantly, he often said Musikfest could not exist without the sponsors and volunteers. 

“With that said, the Marcincin Family cannot think of a better legacy than to honor our father with this award by linking his name to something that truly honors the heart and soul of Musikfest—its sponsors and volunteers. We know in our hearts that he would be honored and most appreciative of this award, just as his family is. We envision that somewhere he is watching over us and doing a celebratory chicken dance.” 

Established in 2003, the Marcincin Awards recognize ArtsQuest partners that have played integral roles in helping Musikfest continue to grow over the years while remaining free for all to enjoy. More than 50 businesses, media and community leaders have been honored with the awards including Frank Banko of Banko Beverage Company; C.F. Martin & Company Inc.; Just Born Inc.; St. Luke’s University Health Network; Air Products; the City of Bethlehem; and Lehigh and Northampton Counties. In 2008 Mayor Marcincin himself was presented with the award for the key role he played in helping to establish Musikfest.  

“In the months leading up to the first Musikfest, there were many businesses and individuals who took a leap of faith in getting behind this new community festival,” says ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert. “The greatest example of this is the 350-plus volunteers who lent a hand to help make the first festival possible. So, in  a year when we honor the 13 volunteers remaining from that first year, it’s more than fitting that we rename our Founders Awards in honor of Mayor Marcincin. 

“Without Mr. Marcincin’s efforts, working with city council and various city departments to provide support and infrastructure for the inaugural Musikfest, we would not be here to present these awards every year. It’s our privilege and great honor to rename the Founders Awards for this dynamic community leader who forever left his mark on our festival and our city.” 

The 2018 Marcincin Award recipients are: 

Capital BlueCross

Now entering its 15th year as an ArtsQuest partner, Capital BlueCross has been a Musikfest sponsor since 2004. In addition to supporting the festival, the health solutions and insurance company has supported the First Night Bethlehem festival; the ArtsSmart afterschool enrichment program for area middle school students; and, most recently, the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival. In 2011, Capital BlueCross also committed to the development of SteelStacks, supporting the ArtsQuest Center’s Creativity Commons, which is now home to dozens of free concerts and family programs annually.

 Pennwood Financial Group

Previously Metlife/Mass Mutual, Pennwood Financial Group, led by Managing Partner Jeff Kurtz, has been behind Musikfest and its free music and arts programming for nearly a quarter-century. Kurtz was also a longtime volunteer leader with ArtsQuest, previously serving as both a member of the ArtsQuest Board of Trustees and chair of the ArtsQuest Foundation Board of Directors.

Christmas City Printing

In business for more than 35 years, Christmas City Printing has served as ArtsQuest’s official printer since 1987. It’s most visible work is the official Musikfest program, more than 60,000 of which are distributed each year. The Bethlehem-based business also handles more than 50 other print jobs for ArtsQuest, allowing the nonprofit to remain focused on its on its music and arts programming, while providing numerous vehicles to promote these festivals, events and educational initiatives.

Musikfest 35-year Volunteers

Each year, more than 1,500 volunteers lend a hand at Musikfest, but only 13 have donated time and talent at all 35 of the festivals. They are:  

Karen Bader, Bethlehem

Evangeline Campbell, Bethlehem

Kim Edwards, Bethlehem

Patricia Fielding, Bethlehem

Paul Fistner, Bethlehem

Patricia Holetz, Clermont, FL

Alice Schmidli, Bethlehem

Mary Lou Straka, Bethlehem

Norbert Szymanski, Bethlehem

Roberta Turel, Bethlehem

William Watson, Whitehall Township

Judy Yuhas, Bethlehem

Bonnie Zsilavec, Bethlehem

The Marcincin Awards will be presented during the Musikfest Opening Ceremonies Aug. 3, 5:30 p.m., at Festplatz. All recipients will receive a glass Marcincin Award, hand-blown by the artists of ArtsQuest’s glass studio at the Banana Factory.  

One of the largest music festivals in the nation, Musikfest features more than 500 performances on 16 stages throughout Bethlehem over 10 days. Dates for the 35th edition of the festival are Aug. 3-12; for more info visit


Information provided to TVL by:
Mark Demko, ArtsQuest