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Plans for Connellsville's Geranium Festival under way

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Friday, March 1, 2013, 5:57 p.m.

The ninth annual Geranium Festival will be on May 25 in Connellsville, again sponsored by the Connellsville Area Garden Club.

The festival will open downtown with the Molinaro Band, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, marching down Crawford Avenue.

“We have asked the Molinaro Band to open the Geranium Festival this year as our way of recognizing and honoring their incredible 100-year history in our community. We are so pleased that they said yes. The band is an important part of our city's history and have proudly represented Connellsville in many places over 100 years. For any group or organization to have stayed together that long is a great achievement,” said Bev Oppermann, festival chairwoman.

The band will then perform selections at Lions Square.

This festival, held each year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, takes months of planning and has blossomed into a Connellsville tradition. The members of the Garden Club volunteer their time for planning and planting and carrying on this day and for their many other projects throughout the year.

There will once again be a Princess Contest, and Linda Galiardi will organize it.

“The little girls are always dressed in the cutest outfits, and it is always difficult for the judges to choose winners,” said Galiardi.

Registration forms will be available at several locations to be announced in late April. The contest is limited to 12 participants ages 4-6 who live in the Connellsville Area School District. The winner and runner-up will receive gifts cards and will participate in the Memorial Day parade. Each of the girls will get a gift bag. Children's entertainment at the festival will include a clown, a balloon artist, face painting and a Garden Club booth for kids to plant flowers to take home.

Another popular part of the festival is the pet parade. Animals of all kinds and all sizes have been entered over the years. The event is organized by Johanna Harden.

Entertainment will include yearly favorite Mark Holden of No Holdin' Back. Taney Basinger, a talented young singer from Bullskin Township, will perform after the pet parade, and Shelly McCombie will be on stage at 2 p.m.

A new attraction this year is the model railroad display in the new Connellsville Canteen building, which will be open by then.

The Garden Club is celebrating its 40th year of beautifying public areas of the city. Members will be hard at work as spring arrives, planting the downtown pole baskets and making ready the many other areas of the community they keep up.

“Right now, the most important thing is to get the word out to vendors that it is time to complete a registration form, so we can have more participants than ever,” Oppermann said.

Vendors each year include sellers of food, crafts, candles, jewelry and many other items. Call Oppermann to reserve a space at 724-626-1445.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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