Annual Youghtoberfest growing in numbers
Over the past decade, the annual Youghtoberfest fund-raiser in Elizabeth Township has grown to be the quintessential fall event that can bring township residents together like no other.
The event, which features a weekend of music, food, entertainment and arts and crafts, originated as a Boston community event, but has since evolved into a regional attraction.
'(Elizabeth Township) involves a very large area. There aren't too many activities that pull from the entire township,' said watercolor artist Karen Howell. 'This is something the entire township can become part of.'
The 10th annual Youghtoberfest, coordinated by the Mon Yough Trail Council, kicks off Saturday at the Boston trailhead of the Youghiogheny River Trail.
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The festival is expected to attract about 3,000 people a day and generate about $8,000 in revenue for the organization.
Event coordinator Christine McGuire said the arts and crafts portion of the festival is what has expanded the most in recent years.
Howell, one of five local artists who will display their work at the festival, has been participating in the Youghtoberfest for the past eight years and says it has grown substantially since she first got involved.
'When I started, I really didn't anticipate that I would be selling that much art work,' she said. 'It was an opportunity for me to give something back to the community.'
But over the years, Howell's watercolors of Youghiogheny River scenes have become a popular attraction at the festival, selling in greater numbers, due in large part to the growing number of people who attend.
The increased number of attendants to the festival has not only helped the Mon Yough Trail Council, though, McGuire said. The Boston business community has benefited as well.
'(The Youghtoberfest) puts awareness in Boston,' McGuire said. 'It's a little hamlet, and it was sleepy, but it's gotten a little more revitalized.'
Evidence of this revitalization, McGuire said, is seen in the number of small businesses that have sprung up in Boston, and the increased number of people who visit the area even when no festival or event is happening.
In addition to being event coordinator, McGuire also is one of the artists whose work is on display. She works with pen and ink and produces architectural building renderings.
The Youghtoberfest also will feature about 35 crafters, which Howell says make up the bulk of the artisans at the event.
Despite the planning that has gone into this year's event, McGuire said volunteers still are needed to keep the festival running smoothly.
'We need volunteers, desperately,' McGuire said. 'On Friday, we need help with people setting up the festival and that takes about 8-10 hours. We also could use some volunteers to donate display tents.'
Also needed are people to help with parking during the event, to transport supplies to and from remote storage sites and to help with cleanup.
McGuire said to help with the Youghtoberfest, volunteers can call volunteer coordinator Dan Piesik at (412) 751-9164 or the Mon Yough Trail Council hotline at (412) 754-1100.
'People do want to come. They want to be part of it and they want to find out what's going on,' she said. 'It has become more and more of a community event.'
Joseph J. McCallister can be reached at email@example.com or at (412) 380-8536.