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McKeesport area gets fired up for Fourth

| Monday, July 1, 2013, 4:31 a.m.
June Lowery's Versailles home is ready for Thursday's Independence Day festivities.
cindy shegan keeley | daily news
June Lowery's Versailles home is ready for Thursday's Independence Day festivities.

For those who want to celebrate the Fourth of July in a grand manner, Washington is as good a place as any to do so.

America's National Independence Day Parade — which starts at 11:45 a.m. — is an institution on Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street. It is but one of the many events scheduled for Thursday. Others include a symphonic concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and a fireworks show.

Locals who venture to Washington this year may notice a familiar face.

Magician Michael Grandinetti, formerly of West Mifflin, plans to levitate a girl high above a float as it travels along the parade rout, a feat he chose because of the “sustained moment of magic” it will offer viewers.

“She'll be floating about 75 percent of the time,” Grandinetti said. The parade will be approximately two hours long.

Grandinetti said he got the idea for the illusion from doing shows in stadiums.

His show, the Magic of Michael Grandinetti, also has been performed at the White House, on national television and at venues such as casinos and arenas. That has taught, the master illusionist how to wow a crowd.

Grandinetti said one of his first big illusions happened at West Mifflin Area High School when he made a girl disappear from the field then reappear in the stands during a football halftime show.

“West Mifflin and the Pittsburgh area is a very special place,” Grandinetti said. “There was a supportive environment and that kept me motivated.”

Grandinetti lives in Los Angeles and said the parade in Washington will be as much fun for him as it is for viewers. “I love watching the expressions on their faces,” he said.

For those who can't make it to the national celebration, there are plenty of local entertainment options.

The EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta is going on Tuesday through the Fourth of July. It will feature the city's official “Flashes of Freedom” fireworks show the night of the Fourth and a 10-minute pyrotechnical show on the roof of the Wyndham Grand hotel on Wednesday. Both displays are being presented by Zambelli Fireworks. More information is online at www.threeriversregatta.net.

Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin is observing the holiday with Celebrate America! through Thursday. It has mimes, jugglers, antique cars, special entertainment and, of course, nightly fireworks. Discount coupons are available from Giant Eagle.

The website www.kennywood.com has more information.

In McKeesport, the rock trio Tres Lads will play a free show at the Lions Band Shell in Renziehausen Park at 7 p.m., to be followed by the city's annual fireworks show.

The annual Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival celebration at Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg runs Thursday through Sunday. The free festival features music, children's activities and other events daily starting at 11 a.m.

Highlights on Thursday include Celtic music by Road to the Isles and folk music by Jay Cmar at noon; '60s and '70s music by The Ignighters at 1:30 p.m.; banjo music by Mean Mary at 2 p.m.; Tom Watt the Buffettman at 4 p.m.; The Bone Forum big band at 6:30 p.m.; and guitarist Shane Speal at 7 p.m.

For more information on times and artists, visit www.artsandheritage.com.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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