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Penn Hills

Fruitful tradition continues at Verona Presbyterian Church

Michael DiVittorio
| Monday, June 4, 2018, 4:04 p.m.
Verona residents Karen Whitco and her niece, Lily MacGregor, 9, serve strawberries to fellow resident Mary Steadman at the Verona Presbyterian Strawberry Festival on June 2.
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
Verona residents Karen Whitco and her niece, Lily MacGregor, 9, serve strawberries to fellow resident Mary Steadman at the Verona Presbyterian Strawberry Festival on June 2.
Murrysville artist and retired Penn Hills German teacher Bob Chaney draws a graphite portrait of Verona resident Angelina Obal, 9, at the Verona Presbyterian Church's Strawberry Festival on June 2.
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
Murrysville artist and retired Penn Hills German teacher Bob Chaney draws a graphite portrait of Verona resident Angelina Obal, 9, at the Verona Presbyterian Church's Strawberry Festival on June 2.

A fruitful tradition continued this past weekend at the Verona Presbyterian Church.

It hosted the annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday at 566 South Ave. across from Cribbs Field.

Event organizer and parishioner Joyce Cosnatti said the day turned out well despite a shaky start.

“We couldn't find the proper plug for our fryer. We didn't know if it was going to rain or just going to be one of those overcast days,” she said. “God blessed us with some sunshine. Since then we found the plug and the day's going beautifully. I think a lot of people have turned out so far, and it seems to continue to be a steady flow of people hungry to come in and eat something for lunch, early dinner.”

This marked the 68th year for the festival. More than 100 people stopped by throughout the day.

“We've made a lot of additions,” said Cosnatti, a Penn Hills resident. “It used to be just strawberries and ice ream. We added the food line quite a few years ago and menus change.”

Besides strawberries and food sales, other activities included gift basket raffles and a kids corner with inflatables and snow cones. Murrysville artist and retired Penn Hills German teacher Bob Chaney made graphite portraits of people at the festival on behalf of the Verona-based Western Pennsylvania Center for the Arts.

The festival serves as a fundraiser for the church. There was no set financial goal this year.

“We're just thankful for whatever we do make because at this moment we're without a pastor,” Cosnatti said.

Verona Presbyterian's former spiritual leader, the Rev. Brian Diebold, left for Texas in August to help his family. He's currently a pastor at Cross Roads Church in San Antonio.

“He was a wonderful guy,” Cosnatti said. “He has two little children and his wife was working. In a small church it's not as easy to make a living. He went somewhere where his wonderful talents and skills were being used to the good of God. We're thankful for having him the years that we did.”

Pastors from other churches help with Verona's Sunday services. It's unclear when a new pastor might be appointed.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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