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Caste Village prepares for Independence Day event

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The cars usually begin to arrive nearly 24 hours before the start of the festivities, as people attempt to reserve a front row spot for one of Whitehall Borough's biggest events each year.

As many as 20,000 people attend the annual Independence Day Celebration at Caste Village shopping center, officials said. The event, typically held the Friday before the Fourth of July, will be held on June 27, with activities starting at 6 p.m.

Fireworks from Pyrotecnico will start at about 9:45 p.m.

“It's an event that everyone knows, from 60-year-olds to 7-year-olds,” said Julie Mancine, owner of Julie's Treats and president of the Caste Village Merchant's Association. “And by the time the 7-year-old turns 60, they've been coming here every year of their lives. It's a big part of their life.”

The event is run by Caste Village and the merchants.

Residents from across the South Hills often line nearby streets, front lawns and parking lots the night of the event. Block parties are held on nearby streets and residents sit in folding chairs, or the hatch of their cars or on the curb, as the music blares and the Caste Village party starts.

Mancine, who is advertising beyond the South Hills this year, said she hopes to see an even bigger crowd for the face painting, tattoo and caricature artists, DJ performance and of course, the fireworks.

But the most important part of it all is bringing together the community, said Mancine's husband, Kurt, a 36-year Whitehall resident.

“This has been such a local draw for the community for so many years,” he said. “Without the support of the local residents, events like this couldn't continue.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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