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Springdale firemen's jubilee begins

About a year ago, Robbin Ramsey was listening to fireworks crackling outside her window when she got word that her granddaughter, Natyia Moore, had just been born.

That was shortly after midnight on July 5.

It's only fitting, Ramsey said, that she and Natyia celebrate on the eve of the girl's first birthday by watching the fireworks on Friday at Springdale Firemen's Jubilee.

Ramsey, 50, and her granddaughter, who live in Arnold, spent Tuesday evening at the festival as a warmup.

"This is her very first carnival," Ramsey said with a broad smile as she worked to keep an active Natyia on her lap. "And Friday will be her first fireworks, so we're pretty anxious."

The jubilee, which is the borough fire department's major fundraiser, opened Monday and runs through Saturday.

The event at Veterans Memorial Field features festival staples such as carnival rides, food, face painting and bingo.

Monday evening's heavy rain put a damper on the jubilee's opening. Co-organizer Mike Ziencik, who also is a borough councilman, said of opening night, "We sort of limped through it."

Things turned around Tuesday, however. Gates opened at 6 p.m., and by 6:30 p.m. a hefty crowd circled the grounds.

Ziencik, who chairs the event along with Don Wilhelm, assistant fire chief, said he expects at least 8,000 people to visit over the course of the week.

Not much is different about this year's jubilee, although Ziencik said the fire department is planning to make some changes for next year to celebrate the fire company's 100th anniversary.

"We're saving and building up for that," he said.

Meantime, those who attended Tuesday said the jubilee offered all the fun they could hope for.

Nicole Santilli of Springdale and friend Jennifer McLaughlin of Fox Chapel, both 24, took their children from ride to ride, saying they make visiting an annual practice.

"I remember coming here when I was too little to ride the rides," McLaughlin said.

Santilli said she has a game plan she follows so she's not stuck carrying around toys and stuffed animals her children win.

"We ride the rides and then we play the games," she said.

Cayley Perrett and Leslie Sosovicka, both 16 and of Springdale, worked at the face-painting booth on Tuesday, saying they were having a grand time.

Asked how much skill is involved in creating temporary body art, Perrett said of the trickier designs, "We just kind of wing it."

The girls are part of the junior prom committee, trying to raise money for this coming school year's formal.

"All of our big fundraisers are in the summer, so we have to start early," Sosovicka said.

Tony Hamorsky, 16, of Springdale, who also is on the prom committee, took the opportunity to have an orange fish blowing blue bubbles painted on his face.

Hamorsky was selling glow sticks to raise money for the prom and hoped the design could prompt his customers to spend more money by getting their faces painted.

Rachel Rogers, 60, of Brackenridge, spent time hanging out with family, enjoying an order of fries.

"What I really like," Rogers said, "are the fire trucks and Fourth of July fireworks."

Sean Figore, 16, of Springdale, said he tries to make the most of seeing friends he doesn't get to see often during the summer months.

The jubilee, he said, is the perfect venue for tracking down his pals.

If you're from the borough, Figore said, "You have to come to the jubilee." Additional Information:

If you go:

What: Springdale Firemen's Jubilee

When: Through Saturday. Times: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. today through Friday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday only.

Where: Carnival grounds are located adjacent to Springdale Veterans Memorial Field, a block below Pittsburgh Street.

Of special interest: The July 4th fireworks display will be Friday at 10 p.m.

Admission is $3 for everyone 6 and older to view the fireworks at the stadium.

The annual parade will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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