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Western Pa. celebrates Fourth of July at cookouts, parades, firework displays

| Thursday, July 4, 2013, 11:58 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pittsburghers watch the EQT Fireworks Fantasia by Zambelli from atop a North Shore parking garage during the EQT Three Rivers Regatta on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
EQT Fireworks Fantasia by Zambelli during the EQT Three Rivers Regatta on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
EQT Fireworks Fantasia by Zambelli during the EQT Three Rivers Regatta on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
EQT Fireworks Fantasia by Zambelli during the EQT Three Rivers Regatta on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
EQT Fireworks Fantasia by Zambelli during the EQT Three Rivers Regatta on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Owen Sidani, 1, of Edgeworth waves an American flag as he sits in his stroller prior to the annual Fourth of July Bike Parade in Edgeworth Thursday, July 4, 2013. Children are invited to ride their decorated bikes through the borough during the parade.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Delaney Smith, 6, of Mt. Lebanon waits for the annual Fourth of July Bike Parade to start in Edgeworth Thursday, July 4, 2013. Children are invited to ride their decorated bikes through the borough during the parade. Delaney is the daughter of Sen. Matt Smith, Mt. Lebanon.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
A member of the Mountain Valley Trail Riders holds an American flag as he and fellow members proceed along the Canonsburg parade route on July 4, 2013. The parade moved down Pike Street for a little over a mile and lasted for two hours.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Nick Triveri, a member of the Freeport Renaissance Association, is dressed in colonial garb portraying John Hancock, with assistance from his page turner, Abigail Adams, portrayed by Sue Hunter, reads the Declaration of Independence on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at Riverside Park, Freeport.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
From left: Mike Burke, Jarred Lynch and Justin Meinert are dressed as revolutionary soldiers at the Fort Pitt flag raising on July, 4 2013. The flag that was raised is 36 feet wide and 20 feet tall, making it the largest flag in Pennsylvania.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
From left: Justin Meinert, Jarred Lynch and Mike Burke are dressed as revolutionary soldiers at the Fort Pitt Flag raising on July, 4 2013. The flag that was raised is 36 wide and 20 feet tall, making it the largest flag in Pennsylvania.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Andrew Gaerte, (center) education manager at the Fort Pitt Museum, unfolds the American flag raised at the Fort Pitt Block House. The 36 foot wide and 20 foot tall flag is the largest in Pennsylvania and required help from many patrons watching the ceremony.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Patrons help raise a 36 foot wide and 20 foot tall American flag at the Fort Pitt Block House on July 4, 2013.The flag is the largest in Pennsylvania.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Veterans of Foreign Wars walk in the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013 along Pike Street.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Andrew Gaerte, education manager at the Fort Pitt Museum, helps raise the American flag raised at the Fort Pitt Block House. The 36 foot wide and 20 foot tall flag is the largest in Pennsylvania and required help from many patrons watching the ceremony.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Andrew Gaerte, (center) education manager at the Fort Pitt Museum, unfolds the American flag raised at the Fort Pitt Block House. The 36 foot wide and 20 foot tall flag is the largest in Pennsylvania and required help from many patrons watching the ceremony.
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
Contestants of various Miss Latrobe contests parade down Jefferson Street Thursday, July 4, 2013 at the Latrobe 4th of July Celebration.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Chase King, 4, of Monroeville waves a flag as he spins around in circles at the Garden City Volunteer Fire Company in Monroeville on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
Kaden Weiers, 4, of Latrobe hurries to pick up candy Thursday, July 4, 2013 at the Latrobe 4th of July celebration.
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
Emma Matlock, 2, watches the Latrobe 4th of July celebration from the lap of her godmother Chanale Rollins, 26, both of Greensburg, on Thursday, July 4, 2013. Madeline Rollins and Millie Dunbar, 4, look on as Matlock is amused by the parade.
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
Jaylon Ansell, 16, puts shoes on his girlfriend's sister, Zoey Stairs, 4, both of Mount Pleasant, after splashing around in the Main Street fountain Thursday, July 4, 2013 at the Latrobe 4th of July celebration.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Onlookers wave as antique cars pass during the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013. The parade route was a little over a mile. The parade lasted for two hours.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Paradegoers pet a dog dressed in a patriotic costume during the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013 along Pike Street. The dog was one of several that walked with Pet Search, a non-profit animal rescue and placement group.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
A unicyclist from The Wonders Unicycle Club high fives a paradegoer during the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013. The parade route went a little over a mile down Pike Street. The parade lasted for two hours.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
A clown creates large bubbles during the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013. The parade route made its way for a little over one mile down Pike Street.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Zeke Bullock, 6, from Canonsburg watches passing parade floats along Pike Street during the Independence Day parade in Canonsburg on July 4, 2013. Zeke was with his grandparents, Michael and Doreen Herron. He sat atop a tall life guard chair that his grandfather, Michael, built for Zeke and his siblings.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Vincent Canella, 6, and his brother Nicholas, 3, wait for parade floats to throw candy at the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on July 4, 2013. Vincent and Nicholas were at the parade with their parents, Naomi and Carlo, who are from Mt. Lebanon.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Madeline Biringer, 3, waves flags as the Canonsburg Independence Day parade passes along Pike Street on July 4, 2013. Madeline was with her parents, who now reside in Maryland, but had previously lived in Cecil.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Willie Frankfort (left) from Finleyville and Larry Stavish from New Salem walk back towards their cars after the end of the Canonsburg Independence Day Parade on July 4, 2013. Frankfort and Stavish are part of the First Virginia Regiment, a reenactment group that has members from all over Washington County.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Teams taking part in the anything that floats race begin their paddle down the Allegheny River on July 4, 2013. Ten teams participated in the race as part of the 2013 EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Lad and Cindy Barczykowski of Tarentum shield themselves from the sun under an umbrella as Nick Triveri, a member of the Freeport Renaissance Association, portrays John Hancock. His page turner, Abigail Adams, is portrayed by Sue Hunter as he reads the Declaration of Independence on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at Riverside Park, Freeport.

Fourth of July parades should be done once a week, said Eve Fuchs.

“It's neighborly, it's community, and it means something,” said Fuchs, 76, of Brentwood as she watched the borough's Independence Day parade on Thursday. “This is the only time we see the older veterans. They deserve our recognition. We should do this once a week or just say, ‘Thank you,' when you see someone in uniform — police and fireman too, any public service. What would we do without them?”

Thousands gathered in Brentwood and in dozens of communities throughout Western Pennsylvania to watch fireworks, have cookouts and enjoy Independence Day parades. They waved American flags, cheered military veterans and sported red, white and blue.

“It's great to see the community come together like this,” said Karen Kwolek, 54, who watched the parade outside her Brentwood home. “I would like to think the country is unified all the time. So much is going on in the rest of the world; people need to realize how good a country this is.”

A 1:35 p.m. Pirates game drew 35,328 fans to PNC Park, filling North Shore parking lots by early afternoon. State police cited five people for underage drinking in the lots near the stadium before and during the game.

Crowds filled the Point and the North Shore for the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta and the EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks Fantasia display.

Chapree Cox-Smith, 24, of Charleroi said she senses more overall American unity on the Fourth than at other times. People gather more publicly for the patriotic celebration than they might on a religious holiday, she said.

“I like that it brings people together,” said Cox-Smith, who took a break from the regatta boat races on the Allegheny River to move to a cooler spot on the Monongahela River.

Nearby, David Remaley, 70, and Joyce Remaley, 72, of Penn Hills said they were heartened to see their grandchildren's growing interest in American traditions. On the Fourth especially, David Remaley said, he's noticing a greater cultural shift toward patriotism.

“I think the younger people are getting back to it,” he said.

In Latrobe, thousands of spectators lined the parade route, part of a weeklong celebration to be capped off by a fireworks display at Legion Keener Park. There, people said the country feels more unified on patriotic holidays but large challenges exist. Walt Johnson, 67, of Ligonier said job creation remains a challenge.

“We're coming back, slowly but surely,” Johnson said.

Others disagreed.

“I think the whole country is in bad shape,” said Rick Phillabaum, 53, of Latrobe. “We don't have any leadership at all. … I'd like to see our politicians work for the people instead of themselves.”

Staff writer Adam Smeltz contributed to this report. Bobby Kerlik and Kari Andren are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Kerlik at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com. Reach Andren at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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