The historic town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is filled with Victorian homes and eclectic shops and eateries. Most weekends a visit is like taking a walk through a simpler more peaceful time in history. That all changes the first weekend of April as the town plays host to the Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival.
Depending on your view, burlesque is either an exotic form of entertainment or the originator to today’s strip clubs. Burlesque entertainers pride themselves on making the audience think they are seeing much more than they actually are. Elaborate costumes and the use of feathers, fans and other props are all part of the illusion. Their shows are well choreographed and often times even funny.
The festival kicks off on Friday April 1st with a fundraiser gala. The event hopes to raise as much money as possible for the restoration and preservation of it’s location, the Mauch Chunk Opera House. The featured performer of the evening will be Jacquelin Hyde, winner of the 2010 Crystal Corset Award, from Seattle Washington. Doors open at 7PM with the show starting an hour later at 8PM.
Saturday, April 2, is the date of the weekends main event, “The Big Reveal”. The night features numerous burlesque entertainers competing for cash prizes offered by Madame Corsetiere of Dragontown and the ultimate prize, the Crystal Corset Award. This year’s favorite to win it all is Red Hot Annie of Chicago a professional pin-up model. Along with the entertaining competition, there are also beer sales available for this event. Doors open at 7PM with the show starting at 8PM.
There is much more to the weekend than just the two great nights of entertainment. The Burlesque Bazaar, which is free to the public, features merchants selling costumes, jewelry, lingerie, and even hand made corsets. Other vendors feature burlesque and pin-up art. As you walk among the many shops you can also visit the cash bar along the way.
Ever wanted to learn more about burlesque? Classes are offered all weekend at Jim Thorpes Memorial Hall. The classes range from beginner to experienced, so whether you are just curious or want to further your skills, there is a class for everyone. Many of today’s “entertainers” could benefit from the skills of an experienced burlesque performer.
The weekend closes on Sunday with a celebration of Madame Corsetiere’s birthday. A party that wraps it all up nicely for those who truly appreciate burlesque. This may be the most fun to be had all weekend as it’s more about having fun than competing.
Burlesque take over Jim Thorpe the first weekend of April, a town surrounded by amazing scenery. On this weekend the scenery changes, but it may be just as, if not more, amazing. More amazing if hills and bumps of a human nature are more appealing to you than those of mother earth.