Cranberry Community Days offers more to do, see, hear
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Some 500 volunteers and 300 businesses will play a part in this year's three-day Cranberry Community Days, which starts Thursday.
The event is expected to attract more than 25,000 patrons and raise at least $125,000 for more than three dozen local nonprofit groups.
Bruce Mazzoni, event chairman, predicted that this year will outdo last year in attractions, fundraising and participation.
"We're expecting it to be really great," he said.
The kickoff of the event, sponsored by the Cranberry Township Community Chest, will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, capped by a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. July 14, although some of the festivities will begin sooner and end later.
Most activities will be in Cranberry Community Park along Route 19.
The primary purpose of the event is to give the township's volunteer and nonprofit groups a platform to promote their efforts, recruit volunteers and raise money, Mr. Mazzoni said. Although no admission fee is charged for community days, nonprofit groups sponsor games and food to bolster their financial coffers.
About 40 groups shared about $100,000 in proceeds raised during last year's event, Mr. Mazzoni said.
Here is a list of some of the activities, which will include concerts, art exhibits, carnival rides, displays and demonstrations.
• Ice Skating in July -- Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Penguins and UltraSkate, skating will be held on an all-weather artificial rink. Admission: $6.
• Art center and exhibit -- Working with the Associated Artists of Butler County, the community chest will hold a four-week art exhibit in the Cranberry Municipal Building, starting Wednesday, with more than 50 pieces of original art available for purchase. During community days, a temporary art center near Playtime Palace in Cranberry Community Park will recruit children to create a 16-by-20-foot mural. Mr. Mazzoni hopes it will be a record-setting mural in size and number of contributing "artists."
• Martinis with Monet -- A cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Cranberry Highlands Clubhouse Audubon Pavilion will kick off the art center and exhibit. Tickets: $15, includes a martini glass and two drinks. A ticket is also good for $15 off any Associated Artists of Butler County original artwork at the exhibit or center during Community Days.
• Volunteer Fire Company Golf Classic -- A $125-per-person golf outing starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Cranberry Highlands will help fund the fire company's 9/11 memorial, which includes a steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center. Prizes and food will be offered.
• Inflatable Zone -- Three inflatable attractions will be available Thursday through July 14 without charge on the tennis court at the community park. Three additional inflatables will be in the upper area of the park on July 14.
• Eight free concerts -- One concert Thursday, five next Friday and two on July 14 make this the biggest year for concerts during community days, Mr. Mazzoni said. All are free. The performers are Tres Lads, a Pittsburgh rock trio who uses acoustic instruments to accompany vocals, 8 p.m. Thursday; Jamie Bruno, country singer/songwriter and a college freshman, 5 p.m. next Friday; Michael Christopher, country musician/composer who was raised in Indiana, Pa., 6 p.m. next Friday; Sydney Hutchko, of Nashville, 7 p.m. next Friday; The Stickers, a country band, 8 p.m. next Friday; Due West, a country vocal trio, 9 p.m. Friday; El Reys, an a cappella vocal quintet, 5 p.m. July 14; and Bruce Springsteen, collaborator Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, 8 p.m. July 14.
• Carnival -- The carnival area will offer more rides this year. All-you-can-ride tickets, at $20, will be available on site for Thursday and next Friday.
• Rotary Paintball Alley -- from 1 to 9 p.m. July 14.
• Lions Pancake Breakfast -- $7, July 14.
• Steel City Roller Derby -- Demonstrations at 5 and 7 p.m. July 14.
Also planned is a three-day scavenger hunt, a recycled art contest, a bean bag toss contest, a 5K race and 1-mile run to benefit the Cranberry Public Library, and a miniature golf tournament.
A midway arcade of games, booths, rides and attractions will open at 1 p.m. July 14, two hours earlier than in past years.
Dozens of food vendors will be on hand, Mr. Mazzoni said.
Mr. Mazzoni said about 450 volunteers were involved last year, a number that is increasing to about 500 this year.
The business community also has more participants this year, he said.
"At this point we have twice the number of businesses involved this year as last year and that could be up to three times as many by July," Mr. Mazzoni said.
He said about $100,000 was raised last year after costs of about $40,000. He expects the profit to grow to about $125,000 this year.
More details on the event: www.CTCChest.org.
First Published July 6, 2012 12:00 am