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South Brownsville firemen lining up an Octoberfest

Members of the South Brownsville Volunteer Fire Co. are raising the banners around the Brownsville area for their fourth annual Octoberfest, set for Friday and Saturday at the fire hall on Water Street.

“We’ve changed things a little for this year’s celebration,” said Ron Barry, the company’s first lieutenant and event organizer. “For the first three years, our Octoberfest was held on a Saturday and Sunday, but this year we’re backing up one day to avoid competing against the Sunday football games.”

The Octoberfest is scheduled to open 7 p.m. Friday with activities continuing through 10 p.m. Featured will be a free pumpkin decorating contest for children 12 and under. Magician Kim Saltsman, of Allison, will entertain the crowd throughout the evening as well.

Saturday’s activities will run from noon to dusk. Featured on the entertainment stage for the day’s opening will be the Mon Valley Community Band, under the direction of former Brownsville Area High School Band instructor Sammy Bill. The community band is expected to play some of the tunes that made the Falcon band an award-winning musical group under the baton of the Republic resident.

Another feature of the day will be a parade beginning at 2 p.m. on Brown Street and winding through the downtown area. A parade highlight will be a float contest, with more than $500 in cash prizes being awarded by the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce to the top three entries.

“We’re inviting all groups — community, school, church, whatever — to enter a float under the Octoberfest theme of Fall Fantasy,” Barry said. “They can decorate for Halloween, fall sports, anything related to the season.”

Adding music to the line of march will be the Brownsville Area and California Area high school bands.

At 3 p.m., the Excessive Piston Travel Band will provide the music from the entertainment stage. Rounding out the day’s scheduled activities will be a barrel rolling contest at 5 p.m. “This is open to anyone who can get a three-member team together. All they have to do is roll a 16-gallon beer keg down a 150-foot course. There’s no entry fee, and it’s a lot of fun with trophies for the winners,” Barry said.

Free treat bags will be handed out, as long as they last, to children 12 and under. There will also be a variety of games and a model train display, designed for enjoyment of all ages.

The food lineup includes gyros made by the Fayette City volunteer firemen, baked potatoes by the Brownsville chapter of Ancient Order of Hibernians, and chicken wings by the Thompson House.

“Primarily,” Barry said, “the Octoberfest is a fund-raiser for the fire department. But, it’s also the department’s way to shine a little light on South Brownsville.”

According to Frank Ricco, chamber president, “The Octoberfest has been well -received in past years and it seems to only be getting better — drawing bigger crowds to the town. I give the volunteer firemen a lot of credit for their past success in bringing an activity of this sort to the community.”

Barry noted that this year’s Octoberfest is being dedicated to the memory of Amy Jo Confer Ross, a local funeral home owner and operator, who died earlier this year. “Amy was very active in civic affairs and was always there for the fire company when we needed help,” Barry said.


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