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Belle Vernon bicentennial to kick off Wednesday

| Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
By Rick Bruni Jr.
Belle Vernon firefighter Rick Lewis,left, and Belle Vernon Councilwoman Marybeth Secleter adjust a sign announcing the main events for Belle Vernon Bicentennial celebration, beginning Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the borough's municipal building.

Coming Wednesday: a five-day celebration that's been 200 years in the making.

In 1813, Noah Speer is credited with establishing the borough of Belle Vernon, French for “beautiful green.”

This week Belle Vernon will celebrate its Bicentennial anniversary Wednesday through Saturday with key events highlighting each day.

“Everyone should know we need to preserve our history,” said Marybeth Secleter, Belle Vernon councilwoman and event chairwoman. “Belle Vernon is just overflowing with history and we need to maintain it as the older generation dies out and preserve it for future generations.”

A community carnival and family nights will kick off the festivities 6 p.m. Wednesday in the rear parking lot at the Belle Vernon Municipal Building on Main Street. The carnival runs through Saturday.

On Thursday, the Belle Vernon Memorial Park on Main Street will host a Battle of the Bands, beginning at noon. The top band gets a $100 gift card from Guitar Center in Monroeville. Derek Kurdilla of the band “Art Of Vengeance” organized the event and will play the final set, which features five local ensembles.

A parade down Main Street highlights Friday's events. Lineup begins at 6 p.m. at the Pittsburgh-Fayette Express (PFX) building, 400 Main St., Belle Vernon, with the parade scheduled to begin marching at 7 p.m.

Volunteer firefighters from Belle Vernon, North Belle Vernon, Washington Township and Fayette City, and other local fire departments are scheduled to participate, as well as the Belle Vernon Area High School marching band.

“It's going to go all the way down (Route) 906,” Belle Vernon fire Chief Rich Saxberg said.

“We don't get to do this very often. … I'd like to say we'll go for an hour or so.”

Motorcycles will be roaring throughout the Mid-Mon Valley Saturday as the benefit motorcycle ride gets underway. Kickstands go up 11 a.m. starting at the Belle Vernon Musical Society, 514 Grant St., North Belle Vernon.

Cost is $20 per rider and $15 per passenger and all proceeds go to the Southwest Regional Police Department's K-9 fund, Secleter said.

Food will be provided at the starting point for all participants.

Residents will then be treated to a fireworks show at dusk at Brewer Stadium.

Bicentennial week eases to an end with a car show 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Musical Society's parking lot.

Sponsored by Minitti Motor Sports, plaques and trophies will be awarded for different categories to car show participants.

Two main food vendors will be available throughout the week at various locations.

There will also be commemorative T-shirt sales, and a booklet containing old photos, maps, and other remnants from Belle Vernon's past. The items will be sold for $10 starting Thursday at the social hall in the municipal building, Secleter said.

Organizers said five days is a short time to celebrate 200 years of history.

“I don't think we'll be around for the next 200-year celebration,” Secleter said, laughing. “We should try and just soak it all in.”

Rick Bruni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2635 or

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