Northmoreland Park hosts fun with annual Labor United Celebration
By Rex Rutkoski
Published: Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 6:48 p.m.
“Elvis” has no plans to leave the building in his debut at the 34th annual Labor United Festival until everyone in the audience has a satisfying serving of sweet memories Sept. 1.
“Frank Sinatra” and “Tony Bennett,” in their own fashionable way, say “ditto to that” as they prepare to take the stage the same day at the popular Labor Day weekend gathering in Northmoreland Park, Allegheny Township.
It all looks to be some of the fun at the two-day event, which continues through Sept. 2.
Admission, parking and musical performances, including the Alain Zerbini Circus with three shows daily, continue to be free.
The price for an All Day Ride Pass remains $3, giving the rider unlimited repeat visits to all the carnival, pony and kiddie train rides and petting zoo.
Randy Galioto, with his “Elvis Lives” shows at 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. Sept. 1, says he plans to bring to life the essence of the King of Rock 'n' Roll though his performance, moves, looks “and especially his voice.”
“We try to present the show in an authentic manner, with costume changes, audience participation, scarves and even teddy bears,” he says. “You will think it is 1970-something, in Vegas, all over again.” And it's not necessary to be a hard-core Elvis fan to have a good time, he says.
Charlie Stayduhar, as “Mr. S,” presents his nod to Sinatra at 2 and 3:15 p.m. Sept. 1, while Ron D'Amico honors the artistry of Bennett at 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Sept. 1 in this triple-header of tributes, new to the festival, by the Pittsburgh-area performers.
A Labor United tradition continues Sept. 2, at 3:30 and 5 p.m., with the sounds of national hit makers, Pittsburgh's The Vogues, led by original member Chuck Blasko, who says he is proud to be keeping the name of the group in the spotlight for the past 48 years.
“We are known for our unique harmonies and creating new sounds vocally,” he says. That has brought three gold records and a platinum album through the years, including the hits “Turn Around Look At Me,” “You're The One” and “Five O'Clock World.”
“We hope people take a lot of good memories,” Blasko says. “I enjoy seeing people smile and singing our hits right along with us.
“This year's festival has everything you love from past festivals with a bunch of new and exciting attractions. People can expect lots of fun, excitement and some very interesting shows,” says Brandon Simpson, Labor United festival director.
The blend of “comfortable familiarity” with fresh offerings keeps this family friendly event a success, he says.
The free Zerbini circus remains a very popular hit, Simpson says. “They have some exciting new attractions to bring this year. It's never the same exact show, and the circus continues to be one of our biggest draws.” There will be three, 45-minute shows both days with clowns, jugglers, circus animals and camels under the Big Top.
The East Ends Kids' performance troupe returns at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sept. 2 with a fast-paced trip to the past. “We perform selections from ‘Grease,' ‘West Side Story' and ‘Hairspray,' and feature dances and costumes relevant to those time periods,” director Larry Cervi says.
John Lege of North Apollo, “That Guy With the Birds,” starring 20 species of parrots, also makes an encore appearance with interactive shows daily at noon, 3 and 5 p.m.
The weekend also features a BMX bike demonstration, ice sculptures, chainsaw carvings, arts and crafts, bingo and the ever popular “Giant Flea Market.”
“The prices for the food and for the kids' rides are kept lower than other festivals because of the participation and work of the labor unions that help sponsor the event,” Simpson says. “People can see all of the great and exciting things that are offered at the festival year in and year out, and they know they will have an enjoyable time.”
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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