BELLWOOD - Despite fears that other weekend events in the area would draw people away, Friday's turnout for the borough's 125th anniversary was higher than expected, committee planners said.
People turned out in droves to celebrate the borough and the people who helped build it, as well as to reunite with old friends and make new ones, organizer Lou Seidel said.
A crowd of mostly women gathered on folding lawn chairs outside Excelsior Fire Company No. 1 to watch performer Phil McCaulley sing Elvis' "Hound Dog," and the fire hall's nearby food line stretched out the door.
of Bellwood builds a strawberry shortcake sundae at the Strawberry Festival booth
during the opening day of the Bellwood 125th Anniversary celebration this
Seidel said top sellers included barbecue pulled pork and hot sausage sandwiches, but the strawberry festival desserts were going over well, too.
Children jumped inside a bouncy castle at the fairgrounds and played Plinko as parents pushing empty strollers surveyed basket raffle prizes and sought shelter from the sun under the fair's large white tent.
"It's the fanfare of every carnival you've ever been at," Seidel said.
The classic car cruise-in also is a big draw, he said, and organizers tried to be as inclusive as possible.
John and Ardeth Sollers of Huntingdon parked their white 2005 ultra classic tricycle outside the Celtic Knot on Main Street and watched the crowd go by.
Although they've been riding since they were both 18, the octogenarians said this was only their second time in the borough, having traveled by trike all over the country for cruise-ins.
"We like sitting and watching the people looking at your bike, the cars," John said.
The celebration continues Saturday with carnival activities as well as a 1 p.m. historical bus tour, 5 p.m. parade and 10 p.m. fireworks.
Sunday will wrap up with a 2 p.m. time-capsule closing ceremony at Bellwood-Antis Community Park followed by an interfaith church service and cake-cutting ceremony at the high school.
"We hope this type of event continues, and people work to carry on these traditions," Seidel said. "People should come out to help us celebrate."
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.