Nearly 600 children from the 20 Allentown Playgrounds took part in the festivities which traditionally marks the end of the Allentown Recreation Bureau’s eight week summer playground program. This year’s version, aptly titled “Celebrating a Century of Fun and Tradition,” included 100 alumni of the program.
“We have a great summer program for our kids here in Allentown that we are quite proud of,” said Mayor Pawlowski. “It keeps the kids active and they make friendships that can last a lifetime, and it caps off with them all coming to together for a day of fun in the stadium. It’s a wonderful tradition that is unique to our city, and I hope it continues for another 100 years.”
The children participate in track events such as sprints and relay races as well as dance exercises and traditional activities like the Maypole Dance and Weave, and the Flag Drill, all performed to music from as far back as the 50’s to modern pop music. Once the children were finished, the alumni took the field for the Maypole Dance and Weave and the Flag Drill. The Evening culminated in a spectacular Fireworks display enjoyed by all generations who were present.
The first Romper Day was held on August 28th, 1914, presided over by General Harry C. Trexler. The celebration got its name from the garments worn by the female participants, who wore loose, one-piece garments called “rompers.” The rompers were often decorated with the colors of the girls’ local playground.
Trexler was so fond of Romper Day that his will included $2,000 a year to put on the event. Romper Day is now sponsored by the City of Allentown, the Allentown School District, The Trexler Trust, and the Allentown Rotary Club.
Although the name “Romper Day” was retired in 1992 and officially replaced with the title “Allentown Playground Celebration Day,” traditionalists continued to call it Romper Day.