Jeannette celebrates 125 years

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The Jeannette Community Day Celebration is set for Wednesday through July 27 and will feature midway rides, a car show, a hot wings contest and fireworks in a city parking lot on Magee Avenue. There will also be plenty of ethnic food, craft booths and a parade marking the city's 125th anniversary.

The 2.4-square-mile city of about 9,600, which lies in the center of Westmoreland County, is still known as Glass City, and at one time produced more glass in more forms than any other city in the United States. Some estimate that over the years Jeannette produced more than 70 percent of the world's glass. In the 1960s, the city had more than 16,500 residents and a number of booming plants. But by the 1970s, Jeannette was an early victim of an influx of cheap foreign competition. Two plants remain today.

The town was formed in the spring of 1888, when several local farms were purchased for the development of the Chambers and McKee Glass Works. The city is named for Jeannette McKee, the wife of H. Sellers McKee, co-owner of the factory. Jeannette was incorporated into a borough in June 1889 and became a city in January 1938.

The festival and anniversary celebration will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and next Thursday; from 4 to 11 p.m. July 26 and from 2 p.m. to midnight July 27.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Wednesday -- 5 p.m., car cruise.

Next Thursday -- 5 p.m., DeStella Dance Centre; 6 p.m., Battle of the Barrel; 7 p.m., Jeannette Community Band; 8:15 p.m., Day Factory.

July 26 -- 5 p.m., Hey Nostradamus band; 5:30 p.m., Great Ancient Trees; 6 p.m., The Ugly Sweaters; 7 p.m., Playin' Favorites Band.

July 27 -- 1 p.m., parade featuring grand marshals the Gelder family; 3 p.m., Back in Time featuring Jeannette's own Paul "T-bird" Kettren; 5 p.m., parade winners announcement; 6 p.m., hot-wing-eating contest sponsored by Pitzer's Townhouse; 8 p.m., Eastcoast Turnaround; and 10:30 p.m., fireworks.

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