Youngwood, New Stanton fire up grills for picnics
Residents of Youngwood and New Stanton will hold their annual community picnics on the same day this year, on Saturday.
“The sense of community, the people who come out to visit us, the conversations and neighbors enjoying time together under a cool, shaded pavilion — those are my favorite parts of this event,” said Kris Long, a councilman for Youngwood Borough.
The Youngwood Community Picnic takes place on the first Saturday of August each year in Youngwood Park and Pool. Pavilion 2, known as the Lion's Pavilion, is the site for this year's picnic.
Festivities will begin at noon and end at 5 p.m. In addition to hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans and pasta, the borough will provide a community favorite: sweet corn.
“The people love that,” Long said. “It's what draws the crowd in.”
Cake and snow cones will be available, as well as popcorn provided by the Lion's Club. All food and beverages will be free.
Those in attendance can participate in various raffles. Adults and children can sign up to win door prizes throughout the event.
Anyone wishing to swim may do so for free by visiting the picnic area to register for passes.
“A lot of this event is the same as it has always been,” Long said. “It's a great opportunity to socialize and have the community come together for a nice afternoon in Youngwood.”
The event, which averages 150-200 in attendance, has become a summer staple for many.
“We always have a great day full of camaraderie,” Long said. “It's become a Youngwood tradition. We always hope that as many people as possible will come and that the weather will be nice for the occasion.”
The Youngwood Volunteer Hose Company will have equipment and trucks on display. Also on display will be plans for the new borough building, which is set to open in September or October.
“The picnic is also a chance for our citizens to ask questions about what is happening in their town,” Long said. “It's important for them to know what the borough is providing for them and what our future plans are for the community.”
New Stanton residents will enjoy the Borough and Recreation Board Community Picnic on Saturday. The event will take place in all three pavilions of New Stanton Park, beginning at noon and lasting until early evening.
In the past, residents were asked to bring a covered dish. However, this year all food and beverages will be provided free to those in attendance.
The borough will provide ham barbecue, hot dogs, kielbasa and corn on the cob. The Recreation Board will supply various side dishes. Beverages will be available courtesy of the New Stanton Fire Department.
Cotton candy, a community favorite, will be provided by Steinmeyer's Floral.
“Steinmeyer's always does a great job,” said Councilman Wilbur Bussard. “There's always a long line for the cotton candy. Even the adults wait their turn for it.”
Bussard has been part of council for 38 years and has enjoyed more than 20 community picnics. He's proud of the way the borough and recreation board members work together to make the picnic a success.
“After being on council all these years, I still enjoy seeing these people out and about. We have a very nice crowd,” Bussard said. “I was involved when the park was first built. I'm very proud of the venue. Seeing the kids having fun there on picnic day makes the park a worthwhile project in my career.”
Throughout the event, entertainment will be provided by Dean “DJ D-No” Baker of Greensburg. A number of activities will be offered, including bingo.
“A lot of people really like the bingo. My daughter has always enjoyed it,” said council President Scott Sistek. “She and her friends often help me manage it during the picnic. My family is always there and helping in some capacity.”
Many volunteers help make the picnic possible. Sistek calls it a “great undertaking” and hopes for a successful event this weekend.
“The picnic is a chance for a lot of folks to get together and enjoy one another's company,” Sistek said. “It will be a lot of fun with some great food.”
In the past, the event has averaged an attendance of 300 to 400. Many families return each year.
Children can participate in a “treasure hunt” as they search for money in piles of straw. The recreation board uses the event as an opportunity for their award presentation.
In addition to the trophies and recognition the baseball teams will receive, a baseball game will take place during the picnic.
In the past, several organizations held separate picnics throughout the year. Eventually, those events merged into the community picnic.
“I used to think, ‘Why can't we all do this together as one community,' ” Sistek said. “Now that we've combined our efforts, everything is going extremely well. Coming together was the best thing that could've happened.”
Kaylie Harper is a freelance writer.