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Crafton festival goes back to tradition with 5-day run

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Crafton Celebrates festival will return to the traditional five-day format after a brief stint last year as a three-day celebration.

Administrative changes and a drop in support forced the annual festival into an abbreviated schedule last year, when it took place the weekend before the Fourth of July holiday rather than the five days leading up to the holiday.

“There was a lot of negativity last year, and that is not a problem this year,” said Crafton Celebrates committee chairperson Pam Palchowski. “We wanted to get back to the tradition of Crafton Celebrates.”

The festival first took place in 1976. The response has been positive, she said.

“People have planned their vacations around Celebrates,” Palchowski said.

Some of the response comes from Robert Pletcher, leader of Boy Scout Troop 148. He said the scouts' booth at Crafton Celebrates had been the troop's biggest fundraising.

“We didn't really have to do anything else – it held us over,” Pletcher said. “We were hurting last year.”

The troop's booth this year will include games including skeeball, a duck pond and a Wiffle ball toss.

The festival will also include three new food booths – walking tacos, fresh lemonade and jalapeño coleslaw. There will also be new games, including a dunk tank and basketball shooting.

Planning the $30,000 event is a year-round process, Palchowski said.

“The entire process is funded through donations and fundraisers and lot of volunteer hours,” she said.

She is still looking for volunteers to collect donations, sell tickets, help at the entertainment stage and help set up and tear down.

The celebration will kick off with the parade at 6:30 p.m. June 30 and culminate with fireworks on July 4. It will also include the annual Thomas J. Witt Memorial 5K race through Crafton.

“It's a way to get the community together, have fun and bring back the tradition of Crafton family life,” Palchowski said.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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