Derry Railroad Days expands hours, entertainment, car cruise
The annual Derry Railroad Days festival will introduce expanded hours and entertainment when it chugs into town Sept. 15-16.
With crafts, food and attractions spread along Chestnut Street, Second Avenue and part of First Avenue in downtown Derry, the festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on its opening day, offering two extra hours of evening activities. The festival will be open noon to 5 p.m. on its second day.
“We were getting feedback that it would be nice to try extending the hours so people could stay out a little longer and have the entertainment go for that whole time,” said Russ McKlveen, president of the organization that stages the event.
Entertainment on Sept. 15 begins at 11 a.m., with routines by local youth cheerleaders and twirlers. Music begins at 1 p.m. with acoustic duo Just Enough Rope, followed by Americana group Striped Maple Hollow, at 2 p.m., and 1980s rock purveyors Twisted Fate, at 5:30 p.m.
Live acts continue on Sept. 16 with country and blues from Gashouse Annie, at noon, Derry musician David Ridilla, at 1 p.m., magician David Lawrence, at 2 p.m., and country rock band Saddle Up, at 3:30 p.m.
The festival’s car cruise has expanded to two days. It will be held noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 and noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 16 in the parking lot of the former Mastrorocco’s grocery store.
The Railroad Days parade is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 15. It will begin at the A.V. Germano Hall, at North Chestnut and West Second streets, heading along Route 217 and ending at the Rite Aid drug store. Returning to the lineup will be the antique automobiles of the Three Rivers Region Model A Restorers Club.
The festival celebrates Derry’s past as an important maintenance hub for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Attractions reflecting that theme include a trackless train ride for kids, an N-scale model railroad display and a railroad museum and gift shop inside restored cabooses. Also featured will be hay rides and the Derry Volunteer Fire Department’s firefighting museum.
The community will gear up for the festival with a Hobo Picnic, at 5 p.m. Thursday at Germano Hall. The $5 cost includes “hobo stew,” cookies and beverages and a performance by Reverent Heart Music Ministry.
Author Joe Szalanski, a Vandergrift native, will attend the picnic with copies of his book, “Boarding the Westbound,” about his father’s travels as a hobo during the Great Depression.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.