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Fire department carnival is a Youngwood tradition

| Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:56 p.m.

Youngwood Volunteer Fire Department, now in its 110th year, will be serving up hamburgers, haluski and tradition next week.

Its annual carnival will be held Monday through Saturday.

It is believed to be one of the longest-running fire department carnivals in Westmoreland County.

John Storey Jr., the engine captain for YVFD, has been involved with the carnival and the department since he was a kid.

His grandfather, Bob Storey, was in charge of fireworks at the carnival years ago. Bob Storey taught his son, John Storey Sr., the business. Now Storey Sr. and his son Tim Storey will handle the show for Schaefer Pyrotechnics.

The carnival has grown from its days when one road was closed for the festivities.

It has expanded to an area behind the fire hall at 104 S. Second St., with more than 14 amusement rides from Tropical Amusements.

The first 100 people to buy ride tickets Monday through Friday will receive $3 off, thanks to sponsors supporting the carnival, such as the Youngwood Business Association, S&T Bank and Comcast. Rides will begin to run around 7 p.m.

Discounts nights are not the only promotions this year, according to fire Chief Lloyd Crago, the carnival chairman.

The karaoke competition will be held on Thursday.

“It's a pretty big hit, we usually get 20 to 30 contestants,” Crago said. “The top three winners will receive a cash prize.”

Prizes come from all entry fees paid by the competitors.

Ballroom dancing will be offered Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with the Wally Gingers Orchestra.

Making money for the fire department has never been the key objective, Crago said. It's all about the tradition and giving something else to the community.

“My favorite part is Monday night when I can see everything I did come together,” said Crago, who has helped to plan the event for the last 27 years.

Betsy Freeman, the widow of the former Assistant Chief Jack Freeman, has attended and worked the event for years.

“You couldn't ask for a better cause. These people are volunteers and don't get paid for the rough work they put in, I can attest to that. It's a really good thing to support,” Freeman said.

The typical menu of pizza, burgers and roast beef will return, with the addition of a few specials.

Wing nights will be offered Tuesday and Friday. For Kids' Night on Wednesday, chicken fingers and fries are on the menu.

The crowd favorite — haluski — will be served on Thursday. “Last year the haluski sold out in an hour,” Crago said.

The haluski was made by Crago's sister who promises to make more this year.

The kitchen opens at 6:30 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m., depending on the crowd.

Crago hopes for a big crowd, but has learned over the years that the carnival is really at the mercy of the weather.

To end the festive week, fireworks will be set off on Saturday night.

Stacy Skiavo is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.