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Hempfield Community Days puts focus on families

Creating a sense of community in a small town can happen almost effortlessly. In a sprawling township like Hempfield• Not so much.

"The township is so diverse and so large, it's hard to get everyone together," says Patrick Karnash, event coordinator for Hempfield Community Days. The festival, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Hempfield Park, "was originally intended as a way for the township supervisors to give something back to the residents. It's a way to get the community together."

Every year, the festival attracts around 15,000 visitors with its free concerts, fireworks, food, vendors and children's activities. This year, Hempfield Community Days promises to draw even more people with its expanded offerings.

The festival is "growing in every respect," Karnash says. The car show is bigger, the fireworks will be more impressive and there will be more vendor booths to visit. The 45 or so booths, arranged along the shady paved paths of the park, will offer crafts such as handmade jewelry, dolls, face painting and Native American dreamcatchers, as well as commercial displays by Coca-Cola, Best Buy and other sponsors. Food vendors will offer everything from corn dogs and funnel cakes to the popular fresh-cut french fries made by the Adamsburg Fire Department.

A favorite attraction for young families is the Kids' Zone, which this year is triple the size of previous years and includes additional activities for older children. "Families are the demographic we are looking for," Karnash says. "Most of the new people moving into the township are people with young children."

Kids' Zone will have nine inflatable structures, games, an obstacle course and crafts. For a small fee, children are admitted to all Kids' Zone activities.

Additional children's activities will be provided by the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library. Diane Ciabattoni of the circulation staff says the library will have "an informational booth with children's activities. We'll have a craft, a tattoo, a game with prizes, balloons and a book raffle," all free. Adults and children can register to win one of four books, two for adults and two for kids. Every year, the library staff looks forward to hosting the activities.

"We enjoy it," Ciabattoni says. "It's nice to get out and provide a service to the community."

The free concerts and entertainment top off the festival's offerings. Saturday's special features are the Chris Higbee Project country music concert at 8:15 p.m. followed by a Zambelli fireworks show that will be the festival's largest one yet.

Highlights for Sunday begin with a car show from 2 to 5 p.m. with more than 100 vehicles expected. Johnny Angel and the Halos will present an oldies concert from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Additional Information:

13th Annual Hempfield Community Days

When: Noon-11 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free

Where: Hempfield Park, off Route 66, north of Greensburg

Details: 724-219-3963

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