For football fans whose passion for all-things-Steelers commands daylong expression, there is the free, inaugural Latrobe Steelers Fest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
While what follows inside the stadium has been held annually for about 25 years -- live band, player autograph sessions, Steelers practice and a fireworks display -- it adds up to an "all-day community party," said Jarod Trunzo, community engagement and sustainability coordinator for Latrobe. The city also secured corporate sponsorships.
"It is an all-day Steelers tailgate party -- minus the alcohol,'' said Mark Mears, athletic director for the Greater Latrobe School District, which operates the stadium.
The city and school district are coordinators for the event, which will culminate with a Steelers-sponsored Zambelli International Fireworks display at 9:10 p.m.
The party that begins at 11 a.m. on the stadium grounds, 131 Irving Ave. -- about 1.5 miles from Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College -- will feature food vendors, a disc jockey, free face painting, team mascot Steely McBeam, team merchandise sales and the collection of donated canned food items for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.
Among the activities are a 24-foot climbing wall; components of the Steelers Experience for fans to test their kicking, running and passing skills; the Great Hall trailer, which displays memorabilia and interactive games for fans to win memorabilia; and other interactive events for families.
From 3 to 5 p.m., a Gatorade Youth Camp will take place in the practice field behind the stadium. Registration is required in advance at www.steelers.com.
At 5 p.m., the stadium gates will open; no coolers, alcohol or glass containers are permitted.
From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the country western band, Saddle Up, will entertain.
The Steelers will hold an autograph session from 6:45 to 7, followed by the team practice from 7 to 9, and then fireworks.
The stadium admissions will fund programs for district students.
Mr. Mears said the idea for Steeler Fest arose as an alternative to out-of-town fans sitting in hotel rooms all day until the annual evening practice.
"We wanted to find something for them to do instead of waiting until 5 p.m.," he said.
Tickets for the stadium event are $5 for adults, and $2 for students and ages 65 and older.
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Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published August 2, 2012 4:00 AM