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Store owners hope Horse Trading Days bolsters business in Zelienople, Harmony

| Saturday, July 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Bill Vidonic | Tribune-Review
A banner welcoming motorists to the 50th Annual Zelienople and Harmony Horse Trading Days hangs on Route 19 in Jackson. The festival is scheduled for July 18-20.

Drew Mathew can remember sitting in a horse-drawn cart some 50 years ago and handing out shopping bags for his family's jewelry business during Zelienople and Harmony Horse Trading Days. The next year, at age 6, he helped sell umbrellas.

This week, Mathew is hoping for plenty of business at Mathew Jewelers on Zelienople's Main Street, with up to 40,000 people expected for the festival's 50th anniversary celebration Thursday through Sunday.

“Hopefully, people who come to the festival will come back in the future,” Mathew, 56, of Zelienople said.

This year's celebration will span the length of Main Street, with sidewalk sales and other events.

Events also will be held at Four Corners Park at Main Street and Grandview Avenue, and a children's area can be found at Spring Street.

The festival will feature horse-drawn wagon rides, a horse parade at 7 p.m. Friday, and a concert and fireworks at the borough's new amphitheater Saturday night.

“It's a great opportunity (for businesses) to get their names out there and to draw people into the community and support the businesses,” according to Jennifer Ackerman, director of the Zelienople-Harmony Chamber of Commerce.

“There aren't too many old-fashioned towns like Zelienople around anymore, and I think people like the sense of community.”

The restored Strand Theater will also host several concerts throughout the three-day celebration.

The chamber's Zelienople-Harmony Business Association sponsors the event with the help of businesses, civic and community groups.

Businessmen Ron Roach, Jim Cleaver, Franklin Health and Donald Waltman introduced the festival in 1963 as a way to promote area businesses, according to the chamber.

Back then, the Pennsylvania Amateur Horsemen's Association held the show in Zelienople's community park baseball field, according to Ackerman.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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