A new crew preps for Pleasant Hills Community Day
Pleasant Hills Community Day will feature old staples — like the morning parade and day-ending fireworks — mixed with a splash of new ideas, like more live music to enjoy into the evening.
Set for Aug. 10 in Mowry Park, the day will kick off at 11 a.m. with the 1.1 mile parade starting at the Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church and making its way down Old Clairton Road to Gill Hall Road and Mowry Drive to launch the day.
This year, community day is being run by an entirely new group of seven volunteers and a councilman after the previous committee, headed by Joe Esper, decided to step away.
“I feel like we’re building on the shadows of giants,” said Councilman Matt Miceli, who chairs council’s community affairs committee and took up the reins to chair community day this year. “We put out a call for volunteers and they stepped up.”
Volunteers included Justin Horvat, JJ Lamonaca, Sandy Rodeheaver, Nicole Leckenby, Kevin Hindes, Darell Rice and Peggy Krall.
The new group came in with the goal of carrying on the tradition of Pleasant Hills Community Day, which started in 1963, based on records found by Pleasant Hills Public Library staff.
But they also wanted to bring in new ideas to draw more community members out.
The parade was a must to keep. This year, there will be about 40 vehicles and 300 participants. The grand marshal this year is Brian Butko, who authors books on Pittsburgh’s history. The parade will feature all the traditional elements, like the police, fire and EMS, the TJ band and sports groups.
Miceli also put out a call to committee members to come up with new ideas.
Rice, who co-chairs the parade with Krall, had seen a bike brigade in the Blawnox area and recommended Pleasant Hills start something similar.
“We were just trying to get kids to participate more,” she said. “We were trying to think of ways to get everyone in the community involved.”
Little did she or any of the committee members know, this had been done in Pleasant Hills decades ago. Library staffers found photos of a bicycle parade the borough used to hold many years ago.
This year, any child up to the age of 12 is invited to bring their bike and ride in the parade. All they have to do is show up at the Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church by 10:30 a.m. They can decorate their bikes or wear costumes or mom and dad can pull them in a wagon, Rice said.
Also new this year, a Model A club will drive several 1929-30 sedans and trucks in the parade, Krall said. The Shriners will be back to participate, along with newcomers the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team and members of the Pittsburgh Derby Brats roller derby team, who will be rolling through the streets.
To cap off the parade, there’s a call out for volunteers to walk in the rear and clean up the streets from candy wrappers and fliers that might have been tossed. Clean-up crew volunteers must be 16 years or older and will get a free volunteer T-shirt and $10 off of food at the park that day.
Following the parade, the American Legion Post 712 will do a presentation of colors, the TJ band will perform the national anthem and Mayor William Trimbath with open the day, along with an introduction of the grand marshal.
Throughout the day, vendors will include all the staples from community and church groups to athletic groups.
There will be a “good variety” of food, from BBQ to desserts and a roaming magician and inflatable attractions will keep the kids entertained, Miceli said.
Keeping with tradition, local acts will take the stage throughout the day. However, starting at 4 p.m., there will be music of all different genres with four groups performing up into the evening including The Evan Dean Band, Bobby Thompson and the Groove band, Grace Bootay and The Steve Smith Band.
Fireworks will cap off the day at 9:45 p.m.
“The goal of the day is really for everybody to come together and celebrate the community and have a great time,” Miceli said.