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Small community comes together: Dunbar Fest draws hundreds to borough

DUNBAR — The second annual Dunbar Community Fest put the borough on the map again.

“All roads lead to Dunbar,” the festival committee declared, and for hundreds Saturday, all roads did.

Downtown became a street fair, with residents and friends listening to music, checking out automobiles at the car show, sampling a wide variety of food, buying crafts and books, learning about Dunbar’s history, visiting churches and most of all, enjoying the town and each other.

Even the weather was kind. Winds strong enough to launch a large kite died down just as the Pechin 5K Run/Walk started and rainstorms skirted the borough most of the afternoon.

“We prayed for good weather and so far it’s going great,” said organizing committee member Donna Myers. “It’s wonderful to see so many happy people here having such a good time.”

Savanah Johnson definitely had a good time. The 7-year-old’s grin hadn’t faded even hours after becoming Little Miss Dunbar 2003. She showed off her trophy and said, “I was surprised. I’m happy.”

Her parents, Robin and Bill Johnson, smiled even broader. “We were so proud of her,” Robin Johnson said.

“I’m really having a good time,” said Johnny Bruno of Smithton, strolling the grounds with his handmade Yugoslavian accordion. He has been playing for 20 years, specializing in Slovenian, Italian, Polish and German music. “I wasn’t here last year. I’m happy to play today.”

His happy music took diners at the St. Aloysius food booth back to the old country.

Other music evoked laughter. The Borough People, Dunbar’s own Village People, brought back the disco era in all its polyester glory, but even better. Councilman Bill Watson strutted his stuff as a policeman, former Mayor Warne Rankin was the group’s utility worker, Gary Owens was the Indian, Nick Bell Jr. the biker, Bill Gaster the cowboy and Ed Leonard the soldier.

Hundreds in the entertainment tent howled as the group performed. Other “celebrities” followed the Borough People, including Ed Leonard doing double duty as “Mary Ann,” in a platinum blonde wig and white halter dress, who helped George Myers celebrate his birthday by singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” Myers laughed and blushed.

The festival also provided quieter entertainment.

Colby Watson liked the chalk mural the best. The 10-year-old Dunbar resident drew her name, several pictures and a hopscotch grid on the Connellsville Street bridge. “I’m having a good time. I’m glad they did this again this year.”

“It’s nice,” said resident Tony Tristani. “It’s good that the people take the initiative to put something like this together and that people come. It’s good for small communities to come together like this.”

“It’s been a great day,” agreed organizing committee member Bonnie Zurick. “The committees have been great. Their work and the donations have made this go on. We have very giving people here in Dunbar.”


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