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South Fayette entices families with fun-filled activities

| Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 5:51 p.m.
Alec Turnbell, 3, (left) and his brother, Will Turnbell, 7, both of South Fayette, take in the view from a backhoe Sunday, July 24, 2016, during the 'Touch-A-Truck' event at the former Star City Cinemas in South Fayette.
Nick Mamula of Peters helps his son, Parker Mamula, 9, get down from a dump truck, Sunday, July 24, 2016, during the 'Touch-A-Truck' event at the former Star City Cinemas in South Fayette.
Cara Calderone, 3, of Franklin Park sits in a cement mixer,Sunday, July 24, 2016, during the 'Touch-A-Truck' event at the former Star City Cinemas in South Fayette.
Victoria Dobis, 2, of South Fayette sits on a John Deere tractor Sunday, July 24, 2016, during the 'Touch-A-Truck' event at the former Star City Cinemas in South Fayette.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune Review
Cole Schidlmeier, 3, of South Fayette, walks through a fire truck at the Touch-a-Truck event at the former Star City Cinemas on Route 50 on Sunday, July 24, 2016.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune Review
Fred Lese, 39, of South Fayette, holds his son Ryan, 18 months, as they watch a firefighter climb the ladder of a truck during the Touch-a-Truck event at the former Star City Cinemas on Sunday, July 24, 2016.

After talking with South Fayette residents during her first 18 months as parks and recreation director, Paula Simmons has learned a lot about what they want from her.

Family activities top the list and that's why planning is underway for South Fayette's first Community Day celebration in more than 10 years, on Aug. 27.

“That will be a really big, huge event. ... I'm trying to bring more free events, free activities for kids and families.”

In that vein, the township held its inaugural Touch-A-Truck event on a sweltering afternoon July 24 in the parking lot of the former Star City Cinemas on Route 50.

Children were able to explore dozens of vehicles courtesy of South Fayette's police, fire and public works departments.

There were also a Port Authority of Allegheny County bus, Waste Management garbage truck and EMS vehicles.

A DJ, a bounce house, a train ride and food vendors rounded things out.

“Kids get to climb on vehicles. They get to see them on the street but they never see them up close and personal,” she said.

“They're popping up everywhere. The City of Pittsburgh had one, Peters Township had theirs a couple of weeks ago. It's an idea taken from what other townships and cities do.”

Simmons said the township hopes to hold Touch-A-Truck every year.

Brian Tiani, 35, a 10-year veteran of the Fairview Volunteer Fire Department, was busy showing off a 2001 Pierce fire rescue truck, which responds to accidents and structure fires.

The truck carries equipment including hydraulic tools for vehicle rescue, chainsaws to cut trees that may be blocking a roadway and water and ice rescue supplies.

“We're set up for everything here at Fairview,” he said.

Tiani, who became a firefighter 17 years ago, said residents are welcome to come to Fairview on Tuesday nights to see training drills.

“I just enjoy helping people,” he said.

“I enjoy being out in public, being able to serve everybody and do my little part.”

Simmons said summer events for families also include movies at Fairview Park on a large, blow-up screen.

“Over the years, South Fayette has grown tremendously. There was definitely a need and a desire for this type of thing. There's a lot of younger families who have kids and there was nothing really for them to do. ...

“It's really getting the community out to come together and have some good, quality community time with neighbors, friends and family.”

David Mayernik Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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