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Fall Festival plans shaping up for big Scottdale event

The 16th annual Scottdale Fall Festival is scheduled Sept. 20-22. Planning committee members are, first row, from left: Thomas Szczygiel, program chairman; Jackie Szczygiel, chalk contest; Jessica Cramer, chalk contest chairwoman, and Conrad Sandusky, festival information booth chairman. Second row, from left: PJ Spires, parade chairman; Dave Kelly, car show chairman, Peggy Thomas, dog show and food and craft booths; Rick Thomas,head chairman and entertainment chairman; Charlie Ellis, 10K/5K race, and Angelo Pallone, borough representative. Not in the photo: Melanie Spires, advertising/public relations chairman; Greg King, car show chairman; Megan Whittaker, children's area chairman; Keith Medley, festival food booth chairman, and Jordan Grimm, Southmoreland representative.

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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It's almost that time again — time for Scottdale's first rite of autumn.

The borough's annual Fall Festival will take place Sept. 20-22.

The Scottdale Fall Festival has been around for 39 years, under a variety of names.

It started in 1974 as an idea to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scottdale. At the time, it was called The Scottdale Coke Heritage Festival. Several names followed until it became the Scottdale Fall Festival, which is in its 16th year under that name.

“I think the festival has been a jewel for the community,” said Rick Thomas, head chairman of the planning committee. “It's something people look forward to. Families come back just for that specific event and reunite. We as a festival committee are happy to present it to the community and to people outside of the community. It's something Scottdale can be very proud of.”

Festivities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 20 with something new to this year's festival, a performance called “Shakespeare Abridged Preview,” on the gazebo stage.

Subsequent performances are tentatively scheduled for 2:30, 5 and 8 p.m. at Loucks Park. The performance will involve members of the Geyer Performing Arts Center.

“We're hoping if the performance works out we'll have future shows in the park,” said Thomas Szczygiel, a member of the planning committee.

The official opening ceremony is set for 6 p.m., while Wild World of Animals will be performing on the children's stage at that time.

As is the case with most festivals, food will be a key ingredient to the Scottdale extravaganza.

“Our returning food vendors are mostly from this area,” Thomas said. “We're happy to have them back, along with some new vendors. There will be a new barbecue vendor and a new ice cream vendor.”

Entertainment continues to be a staple of the Fall Festival and 2013 will be no different with a number of acts scheduled for the gazebo stage each of the three days. Dennie Huber will bring his magic and balloon act to the children's stage Saturday and Sunday. Each day Huber will perform a 30-minute magic show at about 2:30 p.m.

Another activity scheduled for the youth is the Teen Dance, set for the Standard Bank parking lot from 7:30-10 p.m. Saturday.

The always popular parade is set for noon Saturday. This year's theme is “Scottdale the Community.”

A competitive race will be part of the festival for a 16th year in 2013. This year's 5K/10K run and walk is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The start and finish will both be on Pittsburgh Street. Cash prizes will be awarded. To get applications or find out more information, call Charlie Ellis at 724-887-7899.

Also scheduled for the festival is the ninth annual dog show from 4:30-6:15 p.m. on the festival stage.

Returning this year is the red carpet walk for “Divas,” “Studs,” and “Mutt Strut” (costumes required). The dog show will start with the dog parade around the gazebo at 6:20 p.m.

The pet photo contest will be held all weekend at the information booth. The entrance fee is $5 per dog and cat. Each pre-registered cat or dog will receive a treat bag.

Voting is 50 cents per vote. The male and female cat and dog receiving the most votes will win a gift basket. The winner will be announced Sept. 22.

The annual car show will be held from noon until 4 p.m. Sunday in the Rite-Aid parking lot, with the overflow continuing onto Pittsburgh Street. Registration will take place from 9 a.m. until noon.

An antique motorcycle show is scheduled in the Graft car lot across from Broadway Street.

The third annual chalk contest will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday on Pittsburgh Street. The drawing must include a fall them chalk drawing.

There will be three different age groups: 4 to 7, 8 to 12 and 13 to 17. For this contest, children and pre-teens will have a 3'x3' canvas, and teenagers will have a 5'x 5' canvas. The contest will be judged by the Laurel Art Club.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media.

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