New Ken holds 13th annual Community Day
NEW KENSINGTON:– In a little over a week Memorial Park went from being a swamp to being swamped with people.
The park was the sight of the 13th annual community days which started Friday. The festival was threatened after a May 17 torrential rain flooded the park, leaving a massive cleanup for festival organizers.
Festival co-chair Linda Litterio said not only was the park underwater Friday but they also had to contend with the “junk” such as tires that washed ashore out of Puckety Creek.
Litterio said her first reaction was that she was glad nobody got hurt, then the reality of the festival being a week away sunk in.
“Good God we have a lot of work ahead of us,” she said.
But she said the support from New Kensington, neighboring communities, and area businesses was tremendous.
“We just had offers of help from everywhere,” she said.
On Friday it was hard to tell that the storm had hit, as hundreds of people walked through the rows of crafters, food booths, and rides stopping to taste the food, play the games, and enjoy themselves.
Hayley Matter, 4, of Lower Burrell, was having a ball on the inflatable slide.
“She ran straight here,” said her mother Colleen Matter said with a laugh. “I said lets see the train, but nope she came straight to the slide.”
Hayley flopped down after making it to the bottom for about the 10th time, and gave a shy smile when asked how she liked the slide.
Colleen said they planned on getting something to eat and listen to the music, but she soon realized they might not make it too far.
“Go ahead,” she said to her daughter who asked if she could go down the slide again.
Kaylin Troiano, 4, of Lower Burrell, didn’t seem to enjoy the rides as much. She twirled around on the tea cups with a look on her face that said “I want to get off.”
When she exited the ride when asked if she enjoyed it, she hid behind he mother’s leg. Kaylin’s parents, Kim and Jim Troiano and their other daughter Lauren, 2, come to the festival every year.
“It’s something to do rather than sit in the house,” Jim Troiano said.
Amerea Simmons, 2, was also enjoying the rides, and as soon as she got off one she ran to another.
“I’ll be here for the rest of the night,” Amerea’s mother Nicole Albaugh of Arnold said just before chasing after her daughter.
The festival continues through Sunday
What: New Kensington Community Days.
Where: Memorial Park, New Kensington.
When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $1, free shuttle.
What to expect: Food, games, crafts, rides and entertainment.