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Restoring the Grove: South Mountain venue back into the groove

South Mountain Grove is back into the groove on South Mountain.

“Groovin’ in the Grove,” WDIY’s “Family Fun Day,” 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. May 18, returns for the second year to South Mountain Grove, 400 E. Mountain Road, Salisbury Township.

Performing rain or shine under the covered pavilion at the event is the James Supra/Sarah Ayers Band.

The 190-feet-deep by 56-feet-wide covered pavilion, which can accommodate 300, was one of the chief attractions for Joseph J. El-Chaar when he purchased South Mountain Grove in 2015 from a daughter of the late John C. Parenti, who owned and operated the legendary grove, which dates to 1952.

“The pavilion is a solid building with steel from Bethlehem Steel,” says El-Chaar.

At first, El-Chaar had other plans for the 20-acre grove.

“I originally bought it for a development of luxury senior-citizen apartments, but it wasn’t an allowable use, so we decided to reopen it and bring it back to its past,” El-Chaar says.

Under El-Chaar’s ownership, the grove has been the site for family reunions, concerts, high school alumni parties and car club rallies.

El-Chaar has additional plans for the facility.

“We are in the process of hoping for a major renovation in the rear pavilion, which is completely enclosed,” El-Chaar says. The back pavilion is 110-feet-deep by 45-feet-wide. There will be a new floor, new bathrooms, new roof and heating and air-conditioning.

“We would like to do an annual event to honor veterans, law enforcement and EMS,” El-Chaar says.

El-Chaar, who is retired, was in the property development, management and maintenance business.

A car buff, El-Chaar is a National Instructor with the Porsche Club of America. At Pocono Raceway, “We have instructors to teach them how to drive and be safe,” says El-Chaar.

El-Chaar has been married for 40 years to Karen M. El-Chaar. They have lived in Salisbury Township for 18 years.

Karen M. El-Chaar is president of the board of directors of the Lehigh Valley Community Broadcasters Association, the nonprofit that operates WDIY, where she is host of the public affairs program, “The El-Chaar Chronicles” and a host of the music programs “Classics,” “Jazz Factory” and “Swing Sunday. Karen El-Chaar writes the “Classical View” column for Lehigh Valley Press Focus.

Joseph J. El-Chaar, who attended Saint Joseph University of Beirut, The Pennsylvania State University and DeSales University, emigrated from Lebanon to the United States.

His siblings include Tony, owner, Chaar, footwear, clothing and pet supplies stores in the Lehigh Valley; Gerard, a Lehigh University engineering degree graduate, and Gladys, a pharmacy professor at St. John’s University.

South Mountain Grove information: 610-217-6050

PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIER Joseph J. El-Chaar and Karen M. El-Chaar at South Mountain Grove, Salisbury Township, for 2023 “Groovin' in the Grove,” WDIY's “Family Fun Day.”
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO View of pavilion at South Mountain Grove, Salisbury Township.