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St. Margaret Mary Friendship Festival offers fun, fellowship in Lower Burrell

| Saturday, June 28, 2014, 1:21 a.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Kaleb Pierce, 4, of Vandergrift gets his face painted by Shannon Mazzei, of Lower Burrell, during the Friendship Festival at St. Margaret Mary Church in Lower Burrell on Friday, June 27, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Isabella Powers, 22 months old, gets some help with her pizza from her grandmother, Donna Powers, both of Lower Burrell, during the Friendship Festival at St. Margaret Mary Church in Lower Burrell on Friday, June 27, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Brenda Stelika, left, and Jackie Torkeo, owners of Loafin' Bakery Cafe in Lower Burrell spin cotton candy during the Friendship Festival at St. Margaret Mary Church in Lower Burrell on Friday, June 27, 2014.

A local winery and other local businesses offered up a creative and varied menu at the St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church Friendship Festival in Lower Burrell on Friday evening.

With rows of long tables for dining in the center of the fair, this event is about eating and spending time with friends.

Live music and games of chance provided a backdrop for this friendly event where cowbells rung frequently to entice patrons to visit the instant bingo booth.

The aroma of freshly cooked funnel cakes filled the air.

The annual festival, which has been around for at least 50 years, continues Saturday with live bands, bingo, and much food from 4-10 p.m.

New this year, St. Margaret Mary opened up the festival to local businesses and other churches to give the event even more of a community feel.

“I get to see everyone here,” said the Rev. Kenneth Zaccagnini, who has only been at the parish for three weeks.

He succeeds Monsignor James Gaston who was appointed pastor of Mother of Sorrows Parish in Murrysville.

“There are people from the parish and community all in one place,” said Zaccagnini, who was making balloon figurines for the crowd.

It seemed that the whole community did, indeed, show up, as a steady stream perused the food booths and bought raffle tickets.

The Wooden Door Winery of Allegheny Township served up samples and glasses of wine, while La Cuccina Catering of Lower Burrell offered some nontraditional street fair surprises such as crab cake sandwiches and Tuscan chicken.

It wasn't just local businesses that were newcomers this year, either.

Other churches made the scene to offer some of their culinary specialities.

St. Mary of Czestochowa Church of New Kensington sold haluski and haluski with kielbassa, while Mount St. Peter Church of New Kensington provided meatball and hot sausage sandwiches.

Saturday's events include live music, amusement rides for children, games of chance and a number of raffles as well as a quilt made by the St. Margaret Mary Sewing Group.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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