Every town and city or populated area has its own special identity. Many times it is defined by geography or history — a river, perhaps, or certain architecture from a specific time period. A region's character can become further defined by the arts centers, events and special activities that grow up around the area. These elements many times wash a community with a color scheme all its own. The following are some of the happenings that distinguish the Lehigh Valley from everywhere else. And they all add up to a one-of-a-kind formula for a fun place to live.

ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY HALL, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown, 610-432-6715, http://www.allentownsymphony.org

Dynamic performances in the coming year include, Empire Brass (Oct. 1 and 2, 2011); Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Oct. 8, 2011); The Return of the Red Violin (Nov. 12 and 13, 2011); Clifford The Big Red Dog Live! (Jan. 14, 2012); Love Melodies (Feb. 11 and 12, 2012); Beethoven's 6th and Allentown's 250 (March 10 and 11, 2012), John Tartaglia's Imaginocean! (March 24, 2012); The Planets (April 14 and 15, 2012).

ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM, 31 N. Fifth St., Allentown, 610-432-4333, http://www.allentownartmuseum.org

The museum presents exhibits from a wide range of media and time period in downtown Allentown, as well as art-related activities for families.

AMERICA ON WHEELS – AUTO MUSEUM, 5 N. Front St., Allentown, 610-432-4200, http://www.americaonwheels.org

Exhibits offer a look at the various modes of transportation that celebrate the United States' heritage of the motor vehicle.

BETHLEHEM SKATEPLAZA, City of Bethlehem, Parks Department, 10 E. Church St., Bethlehem, 610-865-7081, http://www.bethlehem-pa.gov, e-mail: Matkinson@bethlehem-pa.gov

Phase 1 of the Skateplaza is complete giving area skaters and bikers a designated area in which to perform the sport they enjoy. The Skateplaza is located between Steel and Daly avenues on approximately three miles of an old railroad bed and will provide fun for boarders as well as support for national skate and/or BMX events, celebrations and festivals.

CHRISTKINDLMARKT, Bethlehem, 610-332-1300, http://www.christmascity.org

A market that offers a unique shopping experience during the holiday season, Christkindlmarkt presents handmade items by artisans from around the country, live music and St. Nicholas (takes place during the Nov./Dec. holidays).

CIVIC THEATRE, 527 N. Nineteenth St., Allentown, 610-432-8943, http://www.civictheatre.com

The Civic Theatre provides live theatre productions featuring the region's finest talents, is Lehigh Valley's only full-time cinema exclusively showing art, independent and foreign films and the theatre school that has been nurturing a love of theatre in the Valley's youth for over 50 years.

DA VINCI SCIENCE CENTER, 3145 Hamilton Blvd. By-Pass, Allentown, 484-664-1002, http://www.davinci-center.org

The Da Vinci Center aims to inspire the exploration, understanding and appreciation of science by providing various exhibits and interactive contact.

GREATER LEHIGH VALLEY AUTO SHOW, 1275 Glenlivet Drive, Suite 100, Allentown, 610-758-9691, http://www.glvautoshow.org

An automotive extravaganza with the world's best cars, trucks, SUVs and vans shown at Stabler Arena, Rausch Field House and West Pavilion (March 22-25, 2012).

LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS, Coca-Cola Park, 1050 Iron Pigs Way, Allentown, 610-841-PIGS (610-841-7447), http://www.ironpigsbaseball.com

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs is a minor league baseball club that plays home games at Coca-Cola Park. More than a baseball team, the IronPigs provide educational and recreational opportunities for Lehigh Valley Youth, financial support for nonprofits and more via their nonprofit arm, IronPigs Charities.