Vendors, music, more at Mum Festival in downtown Connellsville
Organizers of the fourth annual Mum Festival, sponsored by Downtown Connellsville, believe they have put together a day everyone can enjoy.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, featuring entertainment, vendors and a special attraction of a 1,300-pound band organ, built in the 1800s and owned by Jeff Bryner of Dunbar.
“The organ is one of 169 of this model that were made by Wurlitzer Manufacturing Co. in Tonawanda, N.Y., over a century ago. The company produced about 20 different band organ models, about 1,700 in all. My model is a 153 Duplex Orchestral Organ,” Bryner said. “These were designed to sound like a concert band, because back then there were no record players. They were made from the time period 1908 to 1936, when the last model 153 was shipped out.”
Visitors will be in awe of this big music box with the big sound, added Bryner, who will play tunes with which people are familiar at the festival.
“The organ is very loud because it only has one volume and is quite powerful,” he said. “We're expecting to set up near Brimstone Corner, and everyone will be sure to hear the music. These organs make the happiest music on Earth. You can be having a bad day and listen to its music and you have to smile.”
New this year will be a live remote from the festival, broadcast from noon to 3 p.m. by WMBS radio.
At the west end of the festival area, musicians will perform at Lions Square at 10 a.m. with the Augsburg German Band, followed by The Del Sols from noon to 2 p.m. and Branded Band PA from 3 to 5 p.m.
The musical entertainment is free to festival-goers who can sit on a hay bale provided by L&K Farms and enjoy, while eating selections they purchase from the many food vendors.
Back at Brimstone Corner, near the Wurlitzer, festival-goers will be able to view the mum decorating contest displays created by several Connellsville clubs and organizations.
Crawford Avenue will be closed from Pittsburgh Street to Arch Street. Vendors will line sidewalks on both sides, offering crafts, food and products of many kinds. St. John's Church will sell kielbasa and kraut. Angels of Mercy will offer hot roast beef sandwiches. Other food vendors will include CAHS Patriots, Domino's Pizza, Christian Klay Winery, Poppy's Kountry Kettle Korn and the CAHS Mighty Falcon Marching Band.
Farms that will sell fresh produce and other items include Kujawa Farms, Buzzy Apiary and Fay-Penn Buy Local (Duda's). They will bring an abundance of fresh produce as well as pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks for those who want to do some fall decorating.
For anyone who hasn't made it to the Farmers Market this summer, this is another opportunity to purchase local produce. Also, festival-goers are encouraged to stop at downtown merchants while at the Mum Festival.
Connellsville Area Community Ministries is participating for the first time with a Ministry Flea Market. Tables will be lined up inside and outside, weather permitting, at the ministry headquarters, 110 W. Crawford Ave. Surplus items that have been donated to the ministry will be offered at deeply discounted prices, including housewares, clothing, toys, electronics and furniture.
The Children's Creativity Zone, being held at ArtWorks, will feature “scratch” art and papier-mâché pumpkin/gourd painting, sponsored by Armstrong and PNC Foundation. The project is free. Children use their own ideas and can take their projects home.
“Armstrong is a proud Creativity Zone sponsor of the autumn Mum Festival this year. We look forward to local festivals such as this one to see our customers and give them the opportunity to ask questions about their existing service or new products we offer,” said Lori Kaczmarek, Armstrong marketing coordinator. “We will also have the prize wheel there, which is always a crowd favorite.”
Seth the Balloon Dude will be there with his fun balloon creations; Connellsville police will be fingerprinting children as a service like in past years; New Haven Hose Company will bring a fire truck for kids to explore.
Three sizes of mums will be sold at the festival with Connellsville Garden Club members assisting with the sale.
An antique car show organized by Bill Coleman is new to the festival this year. It will be held at the H&R Block parking lot.
On Friday, St. Rita's Christian Mothers will sponsor Nationality Day from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the social hall of St. Rita Roman Catholic Church on First Street. Featured will be a spaghetti dinner, a large variety of favorite Italian dishes, pizza, a bake sale and more. For takeout orders, call 724-628-5119.
The Holy Name Society of Immaculate Conception Church will hold a pancake and sausage breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the church social hall. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children younger than 10.
“As a member of the Downtown Connellsville Steering Committee, I am very happy to see that the Catholic parishes of Connellsville are all participating, in one way or another, in the festivities surrounding this year's Mum Festival,” said the Rev. Bob Lubic. “Their participation is just one of the factors that has caused this festival to really grow, adding to the sparkle of the Jewel of the Yough!
“As pastor of the Catholic Community, I view such involvement as part and parcel of whom we need to be, a people Pope Francis is challenging us to be — a people who do not merely gaze inward at ourselves but reach out to the world,” he added.
“Downtown Connellsville committee members look forward to this special day in our city,” said Michael Edwards, president of Fayette County Cultural Trust. “We see it as an opportunity to show the beauty and viability of our downtown with its new businesses and improvements. We would not be able to hold this unique event without the generosity of our major sponsor, Bud Murphy's Sports Bar and Restaurant, and our marketing sponsors Janney Montgomery Scott, National Hydraulics Systems, Cricket PT&E Wireless, Gasbarro Nationwide Insurance, Graft Oil Company, Suter and Sons, Top Septic Service, Bruner Insurance Agency LLC and Armstrong and PNC Foundation.
“We also want to thank the mayor, city council, Connellsville Lions and Connellsville Auxiliary Police,” he said.
For more information on this event, visit www.downtownconnellsville.org. Rain date is Sunday. There is no admission charge to the annual Mum Festival, one of several events presented by Downtown Connellsville committees throughout the year. In December, they will hold “It's A Connellsville Christmas.” Dates are Dec. 7 and 8.
Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.