In Carnegie, they’re gonna party like it’s 1894
Carnegie is planning a party — 1894-style — to celebrate the borough’s 125th birthday.
The three-day festivity, running from Aug. 9 to 11, will include something for everyone, from a 125-year-birthday themed Carnegie Crawl on Aug. 9 to carnival games and declarations on Aug. 10 and a car cruise on Aug. 11.
“It’s celebrating a milestone,” said councilwoman Regina Popichak. “I hope the people that live here take a sense of pride in where they live and I hope people that visit want to come back.”
Carnegie also celebrated its 75th and 100th anniversaries with festivities.
The 125th — or quasquicentennial — is important to celebrate, simply because Carnegie has survived as a community for all these years, said Jeffrey Keenan, secretary of the Historical Society of Carnegie.
On March 1, 1894, the boroughs of Chartiers and Mansfield merged. They already were sharing a fire department, police services and a jail, and agreed that combining could give them a stronger economic base.
Over the decades, there have been devastating floods that ravaged the town and fires that destroyed popular businesses.
“There’s a rich, rich heritage here and Carnegie has survived — not just survived, it’s bloomed,” Keenan said. “That’s why we celebrate it.
“Carnegie has managed to come from the ashes and the detritus of floods to become an artist’s community, fine dining community, a safe walkable, talkable community, with interesting merchants.”
The 125th festivities are a celebration of all of that, organizers said.
The events were organized in a fashion that will include all of the community, from younger residents to old, new businesses to longstanding religious organizations.
“Everybody’s going to be open so people can see what we have. … We were trying to cover all genres,” Popichak said. “We’re proud of what we’ve done here and we hope our ancestors are, too.”
On Aug. 9, businesses will stay open late for the Carnegie Crawl, which runs along East Main Street from 5 to 9 p.m.
Some of the neighborhood bars and restaurants will have themed drinks or food paying homage the 125th celebration.
Each business will pass out a commemorative wooden nickel that serves as a keepsake for the borough’s historic weekend. The nickels also will be available throughout the rest of the weekend.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 10, there will be a carnival along West Main Street that runs from the front of the historical society down to Jefferson Street.
Both the historical society and Boys and Girls Club will host games.
It will be a step back in time, from ring tosses to a wiffle ball home run derby.
“We want it to have that nostalgic feel to it,” Keenan said.
There will be a roaming barber shop quartet and The Keystone Chorus singing songs from that era.
Reanactors will walk the streets and there will be hotdogs and cookies to munch on.
“These are just things that make people smile when they reminisce,” Popichak said. “It’s just to take you back in time.”
The historical society will sell commemorative T-shirts at the event for $10. After, they’ll cost $15.
Mayor Stacie Riley will be there to meet residents and hand out cookies. Local organizations and businesses also will set up tables.
At 11 a.m., there will be a recognition of the 125th anniversary. State Rep. Anita Kulik and representatives from state Sen. Wayne Fontana and County Councilman Pat Catena’s offices will be present.
At noon, the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department will host a “Battle of the Barrels” with other local companies at a parking lot off of West Main and Jefferson streets.
Also, just up the hill at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, students from Carnegie Elementary School will display their work from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be posters and murals on display and videos of interviews they recorded with longtime residents.
“I’m so excited the elementary kids were a part of this,” Popichak said. “It’s really important for the kids to see their roots, to know what people did to build this town. You need to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”
On Aug. 11, the Carnegie Police Department will sponsor a car cruise from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on East Main Street from Washington Avenue to Elk Avenue.
The Carnegie Farmer’s Market also will be a part of the celebration that day from noon to 3 p.m. in the East Main parking lot.
“I’m tickled that we have so many aspects of Carnegie coming together for this,” Popichak said. “It makes me very happy, as a borough official, that it’s all inclusive.”