ArtsQuest Silver Members Jay and Maryann Impink Share Their 40th Anniversary Story

Jennifer LoConte

When ArtsQuest Silver Members Jay and Maryann Impink were planning their Bethlehem-themed wedding during the early 80’s, little did they know that the date they would select for their nuptials, August 18, 1984, would also be the first day of a little-known music festival that would continue (and grow) over the next 40 years. Bethlehem-themed it was – the rehearsal dinner was at the Sun Inn, the ceremony took place at Packer Chapel and the reception was held at the Hotel Bethlehem on Main Street – ground zero if you will, for the hustle and bustle of those early years of Musikfest. “The reception was held in the Candlelight room with cocktail hour on the terrace,” recalled Jay. “Our guests didn’t know about the festival, nor did we. Festival goers didn’t realize there was a wedding reception going on either and waltzed in and out of our reception all night long, thinking it was part of Musikfest.”

“The chocolate sculpture drew people inside the hotel and then to us,” laughed Maryann. While Musikfest is turning 40, the Impinks will be celebrating their special day and will most definitely return to the same venue, as they have done many years before. They rarely miss a year of Musikfest, and they’ve enjoyed taking their daughter (whose birthday is also August 18), and now their daughter and husband take their granddaughter and will take their grandson – Crayola activities are favorites. “It’s multigenerational,” continued Maryann. “So many different genres of music, activities and food. We love to go as a family and experience it all.” While Maryann enjoys tasting all of the different kinds of food at various stands like Caribbean, Ehmer’s, and Holy Infancy Church, her husband’s favorite remains the Aw Shucks corn.

They try to take in a concert each year – favorites being Carlos Santana, Kris Kristofferson and the Beach Boys. And no matter where they go at Musikfest, they always run into someone they know. “It’s a great camaraderie,” says Jay. “We enjoy the whole atmosphere and sharing it with our family and friends that we see.” The Impinks met as teachers at Southern Lehigh School District. Jay taught high school science and obtained his bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University and his master’s degree from West Chester University and Maryann was an elementary and K-12 ESL teacher who also has her master’s and doctorate degrees from Lehigh University. Maryann’s Bethlehem roots run deep as she was in the first graduation class at the new Bethlehem Catholic High School. Jay is originally from Berks County. Their daughter is a Penn State grad and teaches Language Arts at Nazareth Middle School. Becoming members was a no brainer for the Impinks who love the perks, including special seating at Festplatz, private restrooms, parking (although they always seem to find their own) and the free entry at Chriskindlmarkt – a festival they love attending each year as a family, including taking photos by the outdoor tree.

What’s the secret to a long-lasting healthy marriage? “Well for us,” Maryann says. – “Jay is a morning person, so he’d talk all the way to school on our drive. I’m not a morning person, so I’d do the talking on the way home.” “Not too much has changed in that regard since our very first date on December 20, 1979,” adds Jay. “Compromise. Give and take. Going through life,together.”


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