Connellsville street banners recognize Braddock's Crossing

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 6:27 p.m.

The Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce has sponsored street banners for the city for 30 years. Each design has been unique in its depiction of a noteworthy anniversary or acknowledgement of a group, individual or historical event in Connellsville's history. The topic is decided by the board of directors early in the year. The design is then created and sent for approval.

“The first banner in 1984 was to recognize and honor the Connellsville Charter Bicentennial. The street banners were a part of that celebration,” said Tony Grasso, chamber board secretary and the project organizer each year. Some past banners include Harold Betters, the Molinaro Band, the Carnegie Free Library and last year, the Connellsville Garden Club's Geranium Festival.

Bill Atkins, a graphic designer from Southern California, creates the art for the banners. They are hung by Memorial Day, so they brighten and beautify the streets of Connellsville to welcome visitors.

Braddock's Crossing will be held June 29-30. This year's banner recognizes the event.

“We are happy to promote this two-day event that is very popular in Connellsville and brings many people to town to see the actual crossing and to enjoy the area. The historical society has a display with mementos and souvenirs for sale at the beautiful Balsley Pavilion near the Youghiogheny River and the bike trail. There are many period reenactors for the crowd to enjoy and learn from and refreshments are sold,” added Grasso.

“The Connellsville Area Historical Society is delighted to be showcased on this year's banners, especially to commemorate such an important historical event that ties us into the French and Indian War period. This war resulted in England gaining control of most of North America, and the repercussions from that war led to the American Revolutionary War and independence for the United States. As far as I know, other than Washington's Crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day, Connellsville is the only city that has an actual river-crossing celebration, so our event is rather unique. The historical society hopes that Connellsville area citizens and people everywhere will join us in this 10th anniversary celebration. The banners should remind you to come to the Yough on either June 29 or June 30 or both,” said Karen Hechler, president of the Historical Society, who credits now deceased past President Bill Balsley as her inspiration.

Banners have been a way for area businesses to show their community support. Each banner is created with the name of the sponsor imprinted on the bottom. Some businesses buy more than one banner, others buy one side of one banner. The number of banners hung depends on the number sold, so the Chamber makes an effort to sell as many as possible.

Current chamber members pay $75 for one side or $140 for both sides. Those who are not chamber members pay $80 for one side and $150 for both.

Contact the chamber office at 724-628-5500 as soon as possible to buy a banner.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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