Annual Richland Fest Gets Strong Turnout

richlanddays2011.jpgArticle courtesy of: Patrick Buchnowski,
The Tribune Democrat
pbuchnowski@tribdem.com

— Organizers on Saturday said that the fourth annual Richland Community Days offered the strongest turnout yet.

Guns were fired as part of a Civil War re-enactment on Saturday.

Actors from several military units camped out at Schoolhouse Road and Theatre Drive, creating a display of living history. For some of the soldiers, it was their second visit to the township festival.

“We sleep in tents rain or shine,” said Dan Roebuck Jr., a member of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Co. E. 

Curious children and parents wandered in and out of camp Friday and Saturday. Some helped to throw a log on the fire.

Others fired replicas of guns used during the war that divided the nation.

“The kids love the rifles,” said Roebuck, who lives in the Greensburg area. “We let them pull the trigger. It just makes their day.”

Nearby sat Tom Helsel of Paint Township and his 14-year-old daughter, Michaela Helsel.

They are re-enactors with the U.S. 2nd Cavalry. Children visited the camp to feed hay to two horses, including a 21-year-old Tennessee walker named Yankee.

“People don’t get to see horses every day,”  Helsel said. He said his great-great-grandfathers on both his parents’ sides fought for the Union Army during the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865.

Some who visited the camp asked if the uniforms were hot.

The shirts are made of cotton but the pants and jackets are made of wool, Helsel said.

“You can imagine it gets pretty toasty in the summertime,” he said.

There was plenty of food dished out by vendors, a variety of music, art and crafts and children’s games.

The annual parade stepped off Saturday morning.

“We’re just thrilled by the participation and the turnout for the parade,” said Jim Miliauskas, one of the organizers, as the band Jazz In Your Face performed in the background.

The event is growing, he said.

“This is our best attendance out of the four years,” he said.

“Every year we try to do it a little better and a little bigger. It’s really exciting to see people come out and support our event.”

Sandi Chobany of Dale Borough visited the festival with her daughter, Elizabeth, 16, son Joseph, 11, and his friend, Ben.

“It’s nice weather and we wanted to see what was going on in the community,” she said.

Chobany said her family plans to come back next year.