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Latrobe again will tout banana split dessert with festival

| Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Latrobe once again will be seeing yellow as the second celebration of the city's favorite dessert returns.

The Great American Banana Split Celebration is planned for Aug. 19-23 with activities sponsored by community organizations and businesses.

“We wanted to make this a festival where everybody in the community could find something to do and have fun,” said Wayne Sautter, chairman of the festival committee organized by the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program.

The festival began last year when the state Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission granted Latrobe a historic marker to recognize the ice cream treat created by Dr. David Strickler in 1904 when he was an apprentice pharmacist at Tassell Pharmacy on Ligonier Street.

Latrobe Art Center will begin the five days of music, dancing and food featuring more than just the banana split.

On Aug. 19, three bakeries will display 200 cupcakes each for the public to sample and vote in a “Cupcake Wars” block party. The finalists were chosen from eight, which were selected Aug. 5, said Gabrielle Nastuck, director of the art center.

“Each one was different and unique in its own way,” she said. “They were all delicious.”

After ceremonies at the marker in the 800 block of Ligonier, where the pharmacy once stood, the art center will host a “Yellow Tie Gala,” a semi-formal affair with oldies music reminiscent of the age of the soda shop, complete with a portion of Strickler's counter, where banana splits will be served, Nastuck said.

Tunes also will fill the air in the 800 and 900 blocks of Ligonier Street on Saturday evening for a sock hop, Sautter said, adding that he is looking forward to putting on his dance shoes.

“I grew up in the '50s and '60s, and the music is all going to be of that era,” he said.

A car show organized by the Lions Club, children's activities at the Medicine Shoppe and a stroll sponsored by the Rotary Club are all a part of the festivities on Saturday.

“It's when everybody pulls together that these festivals are the most successful,” Sautter said.

To accommodate hungry visitors on Saturday morning, the art center will offer a banana split breakfast.

French toast will be topped with banana split fixings and served with mimosas (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic).

“Last year, the art center really shined, and all of my staff came together, and we had a great time,” said Nastuck, adding that she anticipates the same atmosphere this year.

“Who could not like a banana split?” Sautter asked.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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