ShareThis Page

Out & About: 10 great parties in Westmoreland County in 2016

| Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Judith Hansen O’Toole, The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO, cuts the cake at the Big Art Party celebrating the first anniversary of The Westmoreland's grand reopening, held at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg on Saturday evening, October 22, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Guests enjoy casino games at the Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation Black Tie Baby: A Casino Night to benefit the Family Additions Maternity Center at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital, held at the Greensburg Country Club on Saturday evening, March 19, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Derby Day for Charity committee members, (from left), June Anton and Wendy Taio Anton, pose for a photo at the Derby Day for Charity to benefit Lil Joe's Society of Support, held at Oak Lodge in Stahlstown on Saturday afternoon, May 7, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), Lauren Buches, marketing coordinator, Westmoreland Heritage, and Sierra Jones, West Overton Museum docent, pose for a photo with one of the piglets, during the Blind Pig Party, held at the West Overton Museums on Thursday evening, July 21 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Decorating co-chairs, (from left,front), Jane Church and Magdelyn Vale, join decorating committee members, (from left, back), Anne-Marie Welty and Missy Smeltz, for a photo during the Westmoreland Cultural Trust 'Party at the Palace', celebrating the theatre's 90th anniversary, held at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg on Saturday evening, February 27, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), Linda Austin, of Greensburg, joins her daugher, Kristine Austin, also of Greensburg, for a photo at the 27th annual Saint Vincent Summer Theatre Gala, held at the Saint Vincent College Carey Student Center in Unity Township on Friday evening, July 8, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
WCCC culinary program students (from left) Kaitlyn Findley of Irwin, Sebastian Bowers of Jeannette and Anna Blose of Clymer prepare hors d'oeuvres for guests during The Chef's Table Argentina, held in Commissioners Hall at Westmoreland County Community College, located near Youngwood on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 6, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Karen Rich Douglas, of Greensburg, wears her 'hat trick', in honor of the Pittsburgh Penguins, at the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra's 15th Hat Luncheon, held at the Greensburg Countty Club on Saturday afternoon, June 4, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
CASA of Westmoreland Inc founder Christopher Feliciani and his wife, Kris, pose for a photo at the CASA of Westmoreland Inc. Fall Gala, held at a private club near Ligonier on Nov. 5, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), Kathy and Jim Kelley, of Latrobe, dance at the Yellow Tie Gala, held in conjunction with Latrobe's Great American Banana Split Celebration, at the Latrobe Art Center on Friday evening, August 26, 2016.

The Out & About crew wishes we could have attended every fabulous event that happened in 2016 in Westmoreland County, where the social scene was bigger and better than ever before.

But we made it to quite a few. Following is a nod to 10 especially notable events.

The first four were either one-of-a-kind, new or reinvented from previous years. The other six tried-and-true events marked significant milestones and once again proved their popularity with area galagoers.

The Westmoreland's Big Art Party

Oct. 22

It was big, there was art and — oh, my — did they party at the Big Art Party at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, marking a year of operation since the major expansion and renovation project.

With more than 400 attending, there was partying upstairs, partying downstairs and partying on the stairs at Greensburg's flagship art venue.

The evening kicked off with VIP cocktail-and-canapes, followed by the main event with more spirits, food stations, art projects, performers interpreting paintings from the museum's collection, a silent disco and a closing set by Pittsburgh band Lovebettie.

Black Tie, Baby!

March 19

Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation's annual Star Light Black Tie Bingo morphed this year into a “Black Tie, Baby!” night of casino games, dining and dancing. The retooled revels took place at Greensburg Country Club.

Ten-month-old Lily Safin stole the show at the appropriately named benefit for Family Additions Maternity Center at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital. Parents Dave and Kate Safin of Manor said Lily's unexpected breech birth came with a happy ending because of the care she and Mom received in the center.

Derby Day for Charity

May 7

For three years, the Derby Day party at Oak Lodge near Stahlstown raised funds for a national charity. This year, organizers decided to partner with the local Old Joe Club Charities Inc. under the new Lil Joe's Society of Support (SOS).

Committee president Jo Rossi said funds raised in previous years were “a small sum to a large national nonprofit. But by donating the funds to small local nonprofits, it will make a bigger impact.”

Otherwise, the event kept its familiar Derby Day trappings: great hats, mint juleps and cigars, pre-race wagering and a surf-and-turf dinner followed by pecan-chocolate-bourbon Kentucky Derby pie.

West Overton's Blind Pig Party

July 21

After a century-long hiatus, West Overton Museums near Scottdale is planning to bring a whiskey distillery back to its property with the ultimate goal of making the historic site a regional tourist destination. A first-time sold-out Blind Pig Party raised funds for the project.

Revelers enjoyed a pig roast, eight varieties of beer, raffles, casino-style games and music by The Weathered Road from Pittsburgh. Attendees included a pair of 8-week-old piglets brought along by a local farmer.

Party at the Palace

Feb. 27

It's a perennial big event, but the Party at the Palace Theater was especially big, as it marked the beginning of the Greensburg landmark's 90th anniversary celebration. Starting with a champagne toast on stage, the revels continued with more food and drink and performances by local theater groups.

Having been saved from the wrecking ball in 1990 by the Westmoreland Cultural Trust, the county's entertainment mecca continues to provide a stage for everything from music and magic to dance and drama.

St. Vincent Summer Theatre Gala

July 8

The 27th annual gala marked the 48th season of professional theater at St. Vincent College in Unity. More than 250 gala attendees were treated to a performance of “Cole: An Entertainment Based on the Words and Music of Cole Porter.”

A gleaming 1934 Packard parked outside, art deco flourishes and wine-bottle centerpieces decorated with feathers and pearls were reminiscent of the heyday of the prolific composer and songwriter known for “Night and Day” and “I've Got You Under My Skin.”

Chefs' Table Argentina

Nov. 6

Argentina was the culinary destination for the Westmoreland College Educational Foundation's 30th annual Chefs' Table at the Youngwood campus. The sold-out seven-course meal featured sassy South American dishes prepared and served by students from the culinary arts and hospitality programs under the direction of faculty members.

While Ray Flowers, chef-owner of Sun Dawg Cafe in Greensburg, and Edward Nagy, district executive chef for Aramark at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., were inducted into the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Hall of Fame, news spread that the culinary school had been named tops in Pennsylvania and 40th in the nation by Best Choice Schools.

Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Hat Luncheon

June 4

From a couture chapeau purchased in Paris to a homemade Penguins Stanley Cup tribute “Hat Trick,” the styles were surprising and delightful at the 15th annual Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Hat Luncheon at the Greensburg Country Club.

Attendees agreed that half the fun was comparing hats and learning their stories. Attendee June Anton admitted that a little weather stripping was deployed inside her wide-brim hat to improve the fit.

A mimosa reception, violin selections and a silent auction topped off the day.

CASA of Westmoreland Inc. Fall Gala

Nov. 5

“Celebrating a Decade of Advocacy, 2006-2016” was the theme for the black-tie event at a private club near Ligonier. The gala kicked off with a video retrospective, followed by a toast and remarks by Judge Christopher Feliciani, founder of the local CASA organization which provides assistance to children in the family court system because of abuse and/or neglect.

Under glittering crystal chandeliers, guests dined on scallops and filet of beef. For fun, there was a mystery-box prize and dancing to the music of Protégé.

Latrobe Art Center's Yellow Tie Gala

Aug. 26

For the fifth year, Downtown Latrobe went bananas in late August with a Great American Banana Split Celebration, paying homage to the summertime favorite created at a local pharmacy in 1904. Latrobe Art Center joined in with an Yellow Tie Gala.

The fun spilled out of the center onto Ligonier Street, where yellow-clad guests sat at yellow-topped tables or got up to boogie with Neon Swing X-perience. Those needing a cool-down could pop back inside for a banana split served up at the very counter where the first one was made, which emerges from storage every year for the gala.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.