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Heritage Festival in Murrysville, Export will transport people to a time gone by

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 2:20 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Mur
The 2013 Heritage Festival will be held at the Sampson-Clark Toll house Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Committee members Melanie Litz, of the Export Historical Committee, and Carol Intrieri, of the Murrysville Historical Preservation Society, place festival signs in the area while Cara Monroe, 12, practices rolling a wodden hoop. Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star

Covered wagons aren't a common sight in Murrysville these days. But next weekend, history buffs from Murrysville and Export will celebrate a time when the wagons stopped every 12 miles, butter was churned by hand and coal mining was the area's claim to fame as part of the annual Heritage Festival.

“We're taking a portion of Murrysville-Export history and celebrating those events,” said Carol Intrieri, one of the organizers of this year's Heritage Festival. “This is not only Murrysville Historical Preservation Society history – it's their history, too. No matter where you're from originally – whatever part of the country, part of the world – if you're living in the Murrysville-Export area now, this is your history, too.”

Sponsored by the Murrysville Historical Preservation Society and the Export Historical Committee, the festival will feature activities for all ages, Intrieri said. Members of the committees will set up an old-fashioned general store and host tours of the Sampson/Clark Toll House and the adjacent Viola Toll House. This is the first year the festival has been hosted at the historic toll house. In past years, the event was held at a Murrysville Park. The new location showcases the historic significance of the toll house, Intrieri said.

“The Sampson-Clark Toll House played an important part in westward expansion as travelers traversed the western countryside,” she said. “Without a covered wagon, you can't really talk about the westward expansion. They stopped at toll houses like ours every 12 miles or so.”

The group isn't just highlighting Murrysville history. To celebrate the rich mining history in Export, the groups organized a simulated coal-mine experience in which children will dig for coal.

Other activities will include demonstrations of daily living chores, re-enactors and a storytelling session from the local StoryWorks group.

Those historical stories are important to the next generation, Intrieri said.

“History is a footprint of our future destiny,” Intrieri said. “Kids need to grow up in their local history, their local roots. Everyone needs roots.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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