6th annual Village for Kids a success despite rain
McKeesport area children didn't let Monday afternoon showers put a damper on their Village for Kids experience, as they enjoyed food, games and dancing in the rain.
The Lions Bandshell grounds in Renziehausen Park was filled with happy kids hiding under hooded sweatshirts and umbrellas for the sixth annual Village for Kids event that precedes the three-day International Village food and heritage festival on the nearby Stephen Barry Field.
“All of the kids had fun, even though it was raining,” parent Marianne Coughenour of McKeesport said. Coughenour attended with her daughters Victoria, 4, and Evelyn, 2, who normally attend with their preschool program. “This is my first time here, and there's a lot for kids to do.”
Civic organizations and social service agencies from across the Mon Valley hosted food booths, games, crafts and health screenings for children of all ages.
“It's pretty cool,” 9-year-old Serena Dillard of McKeesport said. “There's a whole bunch of people here, and we appreciate everything they do.”
Village for Kids co-chairs Alison Piccolino and Dexter Hairston thanked the event's community partners for making it a continued success.
“This is an event that was scheduled to be a one-time thing for the 50th anniversary of International Village,” said state Sen. James R. Brewster, who continues to be a primary sponsor of the Village for Kids. “Here we are in our sixth year continuing a great tradition for the children of McKeesport and surrounding communities.”
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city is proud to host another great program that brings people in from neighboring municipalities.
“The kids' event has grown to be a tremendous asset to International Village,” Cherepko said. “It's a day to get our kids excited about the International Village tradition by dedicating a special event to them.”
Each year, the prince and princess of International Village are crowned during the kids event.
Ashley Kifer, 8, of Liberty was named princess, and Brandon Walton, 7, of McKeesport was named prince. It was the first time either had attended the Village for Kids, and both said they had a great time despite the rain.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.