ShareThis Page

Jeannette will have no Community Days festival this summer

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

For the first time in many years in Jeannette there will be no summer parade, no fireworks and no Community Days festival.

For many years the summer parade was part of an annual Fourth of July Celebration that dated back, at the very least to the 1950s, although old pictures abound of other summer parades for firemen's conventions that date back to the early 1900s.

According to Cris Lowstuter, former chairwoman of Jeannette Community Days, “Community Days, at the Magee Avenue parking lot was started about nine years ago. Before that, there were two committees for the Idlewild Community Picnic and the Fourth of July Celebration.”

Lowstuter said she had served on the Community Picnic committee for 18 years while the annual Fourth of July celebration committee operated separately.

“We both had a lack of funds and volunteers, so we came together about nine years ago for Community Days,” said Lowstuter.

Lowstuter resigned three years ago as chairperson, but returned in a consulting capacity for the 125th Anniversary.

“Three years ago we (the committee) handed Community Days over to the Jeannette Firemen's Activity Association, I stayed on as a consultant, but last year was rough because my mother was sick.”

Due to her mother's illness, Lowstuter let everyone know she could not return to the committee.

“I love doing it and I loved working with my vendors,” said Lowstuter.

Former mayor Robert Carter submitted a letter to city council last week to be read at the June meeting about the lack of a community celebration this year.

“Cris made it clear that she it was her last year,” Carter said. “Last year's event was really large and after it was over, nobody wanted to do anything.”

In his letter, Carter highlighted the positive aspects of the celebration.

But, Carter, Lowstuter and committee treasurer Russ Wallace were in agreement that the event is a huge undertaking.

“As soon as the event is over, you have to start planning again,” said Carter.

Lowstuter and Wallace both said that fundraising is key to the event and needs to be worked on throughout the year to raise enough money for the event. Carter said the budget for Community Days was about $23,000, but Wallace estimates that it was a bit more than that.

Last year, Elliott Company donated $10,000 to the event committee which assisted with a larger fireworks display and the committee also paid the bill for overtime bill for extra police protection during the event since the 125th anniversary festival was four days instead of the usual three in prior years. In prior years, Excela Health had donated to the event.

Wallace said the fireworks alone cost about $8,000.

There is some seed money left in the treasury should there be interest in planning an event for next year according to both Wallace and Carter.

Lowstuter said, “There are four key elements — volunteers, sponsorship, dedication and the willingness to put in long hours.”

“It is a matter of knowing who to call,” Wallace said. “I was one person and I couldn't do it by myself. Everyone just kind of fizzled out. “

Carter agreed and said, “We had a good rapport with all of our vendors and we had a lot of contacts. There is a lot of planning involved. Bands like East Coast Turnaround have to be booked a year in advance. These things don't just happen.”

Lowstuter, Carter and Wallace all said the volunteers kept dwindling each year, which made pulling off the event even harder.

“Nothing was planned for this year,” Mayor Richard Jacobelli said. “I would like to have a 5K run and a car show, or at least something on Clay Avenue.”

In past years, the City of Jeannette provided the Magee Avenue parking lot at no charge, and also paid the electric bill for the event. However, the amusement rides and many of the food vendors supplied their own electricity.

Robbins Electric also did all the wiring and electric work for the event, which Carter said “was a two day job, that they donated.”

Any residents or interested parties who would like to resurrect Community Days, should call the Jeannette Fire Department at 724-527-4000 and leave a message for Carter or Wallace.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.