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Crafton Celebrates a three-day event

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
File photo
Members of American Legion Frank R. Kirk Post 145 in Crafton lead the annual 4th of July parade in 2010.
File photo
Crafton Mayor James Bloom tosses candy along West Steuben Street during Crafton Celebrates' annual 4th of July parade in 2010.

Crafton Celebrates will undergo some major changes this year.

The annual event, traditionally a five-day celebration that encompasses the Fourth of July, will instead be a three-day observation held the weekend of June 28-30. The annual parade also was cut from the celebration.

“We ran into a lot of competition with the (EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers) Regatta and other boroughs doing their fireworks on the Fourth,” said John Billigen, chairman of the Crafton Celebrates committee. “And to try to do a festival for five days is really hard, trying to get that many volunteers to staff all the booths.”

Expenses also played a role in the decision. Billigen said expenses were between $25,000 and $30,000 last year, and he estimates a few thousand dollars can be trimmed off that number by shortening the festival.

Dropping the parade also was a cost-cutting move, one that Billigen said could save about $2,500 by itself. He said for now, eliminating the parade is “just for this year.”

“We took a really bad hit last year, so we're trying to find ways to save money along with making money,” Billigen said.

The festival will be held from 6 to 10:30 p.m. June 28 and from 3 to 10:30 p.m. June 29 and 30, Billigen said. He anticipates having one band for each night of the festival, along with other entertainment such as local dance school performances, carnival rides and more.

The fireworks will be held at dusk June 30.

Park improvements

Crafton officials also are preparing for improvements at the borough's main park.

Borough council approved a motion to apply for funds from the DCNR for improvements to the Crafton Park playground at its meeting Feb. 27.

Director of borough services Jamie Beechey, who oversees recreation and public works, said the playground “has some safety issues” and is not compliant with the Americans with Disablities Act.

Beechey estimates the cost would be about $150,000, half of which would be provided by DCNR. Borough council approved matching funds for the project at its Feb. 27 meeting. Work likely wouldn't begin until 2014.

In addition, Beechey said she and the parks and recreation committee are looking at the borough's comprehensive recreation plan and determining priorities for improvements to the borough's parks.

“One of the first priorities was that playscape (at Crafton Park), so we're trying to do that quickly,” she said.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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