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Bridgeville residents prepare for a Day on the Avenue

| Sunday, June 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
file photo
Carolyn Palmer of McDonald and a member of Crossroads United Methodist Church cheers after Logan Balint, 7, of McDonald knocks over some cans while playing a game during Bridgeville's Day on the Avenue.
File photo
Cole Jankoski, 4, of Heidelberg plays a frog toss game during Bridgeville's Day on the Avenue last year.

The main thing about a town's Main Street is its people.

On June 14, Bridgeville residents will open up Washington Avenue to family fun from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual Day on the Avenue always brings out the best the community has to offer.

Mike Tolmer, Bridgeville council president, recalls the food festival borough officials held when he was growing up. It was a multi-day event, he said, and families gathered for hours to relax and be entertained.

Day on the Avenue was in its early days when he returned from college in the 1990s, and he's been attending ever since. Now, he brings his daughter and son to this spring festival.

“It's a great day,” he said. “It's geared for all ages.”

There are live bands, children's activities, food and craft vendors, sports booster clubs, classic cars and the water battle among the firefighters.

And then there are the cars – whether the classic, antique, hot rod or specialty.

John McCans, a Bridgeville resident, has been supervising the car arrivals at the event for the last nine years.

“We invite anybody involved in the hobby,” he said.

Last year, 118 vehicles lined Bridgeville streets. The oldest was a 1938 Ford.

McCans' first car was a 1950 Dodge purchased for $85. After a complete restoration, his “college car” is cruise-ready, but this year, he'll drive his 1976 Chevy Impala sedan.

Nearer the sidewalks, some merchants stay open to welcome customers while local organizations and church members set up tables and booths.

“It's a good opportunity to get their names out,” Tolmer said.

And with neighbor greeting neighbor, it's a celebration of small-town living. He estimated that there have been years with attendance of 1,000.

“The street is pretty full – if it's a sunny day,” he said. “There's a lot of coming and going.”

For residents, he said, it's about “getting out in town and seeing everybody.” And after this past winter, he explained, the Day on the Avenue will be welcomed.

Tolmer has watched the changes in his community as new families move into the borough. Yet there's still room for the seniors who have supported the town through past decades.

“The best thing about Bridgeville is definitely the people,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

Events such as Day on the Avenue make use of some of the town's most positive characteristics.

“You make the best use of what we already have: The main street and a sense of community. You can't be somebody you're not.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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