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Officials deem Plum Community Festival a success

| Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Aaron Loughner | For The Plum Advance Leader
Larry Mills Park once again was the scene of great food, fun games, live entertainment, all part of the 2013 Plum Community Festival on June 21 and 22. Antique and classic cars packed the area for the annual Car Cruise.
Aaron Loughner | For The Plum Advance Leader
Larry Mills Park once again was the scene of great food, fun games, live entertainment, all part of the 2013 Plum Community Festival on June 21 and 22. Sarah Swidorsky, 13, gets an airbrush tatoo from John Woods, the Plum Tattoo Guy.

Mike Thomas had an inkling the Plum Community Festival was a success simply by where the vehicles were parked.

“On Saturday night, they were parking cars on the upper soccer field (at Larry Mills Park),” said Thomas, borough manager and past president of the Plum Rotary. “That never happened before.”

Thomas said this year's event that was held June 21 and 22 grossed $20,000. The actual proceeds will be determined after various bills are paid, Thomas said.

The festival last year registered a slight loss, in part because a thunderstorm canceled the first night's events.

The Plum Rotary and the borough have sponsored the festival for the past few years. This year's two-day event featured entertainment, more outside food vendors with an expanded menu, informational and community-sponsored booths, games and the sale of beer.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” Thomas said. “I am so satisfied and gratified.”

Mona Costanza, assistant to the borough manager, said it is difficult to determine how many people attended. She said, though, 350 children received wrist bands for the games. Also 500 bracelets were distributed to those who purchased beer.

Thomas said the success is noteworthy because other events including festivals in Murrysville, New Kensington and Wilkins and at a church in Monroeville and the Kenny Chesney concert at Heinz Field occurred the same weekend.

Costanza, also president of the Plum Rotary, believes the success, in part, was due to planning, particularly with the beer sales.

“We set it up so it would be controlled and avoid problems,” Costanza said. “There was a police officer present, and everyone was (required to show identification). We had a great mix this year. We have a model that works.”

Costanza is pleased to see that she has received phone calls from those who want to volunteer to help at next year's festival.

“We are having a meeting in August and will set the date for next year,” Costanza said.

Thomas also said a key to the success was the participation by the community groups.

“It was a community event, and everyone made it successful,” Thomas said.

Fred Lucas, president of the Plum Area Soccer Association, said the group volunteers at the event for a couple of reasons.

“No. 1 is community,” Lucas said. “And we are the lease holder (of the soccer fields at Larry Mills Park), and we like to keep an eye on things.”

Lucas said about 10 soccer association members volunteer for the entire length of the festival. Another 40 to 50 volunteer a couple of hours.

The group this year helped direct festival-goers to parking spots and volunteered with beer sales.

“As long as the borough does the event, we will help out the best we can,” Lucas said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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