Tarentum firefighters hope new location will spur interest in festival
TARENTUM — After halting its traditional summer carnival, Summit Hose is coming back with a new event, a fall festival, this week.
Summit President Tarek Masaoud said that, with the assistance of the Tarentum Recreation Board, the fire company is putting together a family-friendly event for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
He said there still will be a carnival, but a bigger one and in a new location: Riverview Memorial Park, along 1st Avenue.
“It's a change of atmosphere,” Masaoud said. “We can add more things. It's a nice park and it doesn't get utilized enough.”
“The carnival is going to be bigger this year, we are going to have crafters and three nights of bands and you couldn't do that at the last location,” he said.
The Summit Hose carnival was a fixture for decades in the borough's west end, where the company is located. The firefighters are hoping the change of location will spark renewed interest.
“It eventually got smaller and smaller and the attendance was down and we couldn't afford to do it anymore,” Masaoud said. “I don't know if it was the location or if it was the carnival company, but we had to do something different with this.”
He said they canceled it last year because they needed to regroup, even though the carnival is one of two major fundraisers for them. As a result, he said money was a little tighter for Summit last year.
Summit's members hope the change will work and to help them make it, they called upon the recreation board.
“They came to us and asked us to help them with this because they heard we were trying to put together a fall festival last year,” said Carrie Fox, recreation board treasurer.
She said fall is a busy time for the board in preparing for the Halloween “Boo Fest” and the big Christmas parade and they decided not to put on a fall festival themselves.
Fox said the board was glad to see Summit take on the event and agreed to help with planning and manning Summit's food concession.
“We want to keep it very family-oriented,” Fox said. “It started out slow and it's just kind of exploded. It's turned into a great thing, so I hope the people will come for it.”
“There is no alcohol whatsoever,” Masaoud said. “It will be a family atmosphere. There's no reason to have a carnival if you are going to have beer; it's not a family atmosphere.”
Overall, Masaoud said the crafters, who had not been a part of the street carnival in the west end, are a big addition.
“We have 30 crafters, which is a very good turnout for the first year,” he said. “They are from all over the place — from Greensburg to a guy in Arizona.”
He said the Arizona man, who sells Western memorabilia and fudge, happened to be visiting a relative in Winfield.
“He heard about this, called and said he would love to do this festival,” Masaoud said.
The carnival will be run by the Lam Carnival Co., which stages the Blessed Sacrament carnival in Harrison and Verona's community days.
As for food, Fox said, “There are local churches that are coming that are serving food, like Holy Family is coming with their pierogi, and Summit Hose will have the food that they always served at the street fair — French fries, hot dogs, pizza and pulled pork sandwiches.”
A major feature will be the bands that will play from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and possibly longer if the crowd permits. Masaoud said Autobohn will play Thursday, Johnson's Crossing on Friday and Recover on Saturday.
Saturday's activities will include afternoon music by a DJ, a pie-baking contest and a bird exhibit and demonstration. There will be a 50-50 bingo every night run by Arnold Fire Co. No. 1.
“The people around town are loyal patrons and they are always asking us if we are doing the carnival this year,” Masaoud said. “Hopefully, the people won't forget about us.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.