Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crosby, Stills and Nash to Boost Erie Celebration

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crosby, Stills and Nash to Boost Erie Celebration

Article excerpt

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie has begun.

With cannon fire and flag raisings, Erie last week kicked off 18 months of concerts, lectures, community picnics, movies, historical tours, fireworks and other events to lead up to the September 2013 commemoration of the pivotal battle in the War of 1812. It honors U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's role in building ships at Presque Isle and his victory against the British Navy near Sandusky, Ohio.

The big event this year in the lead-up to this great maritime observance will be "Best Summer Night," an outdoor concert by Crosby, Stills and Nash on June 23 on Presque Isle Beach to raise money to upgrade the Perry Monument area at Misery Bay.

"Most of the big activities, including a tall ships festival, are going to occur next summer, many focused in and around the Perry Monument area," said Steve McDermott, executive director of the Presque Isle Partnership, which is spearheading the memorial improvements. "That overlooks the bay where Commodore Perry built six of his fleet. The Perry Monument will be Ground Zero for a variety of these events."

The partnership, founded in 1994, hopes to raise at least $150,000 that will help fund replacement of a larger picnic pavilion (estimated to cost $35,000) and installation of 30 picnic tables made of recycled aluminum (estimated at $800 apiece), to spruce up the monument area. Other improvements also are planned.

The 3,200-acre Presque Isle State Park is the most visited state park in Pennsylvania, drawing 4 million visitors a year, many from the Pittsburgh area.

Landing Crosby, Stills and Nash was a coup for the partnership, Mr. McDermott said, for a first-of-a-kind concert for 4,000 people at Beach 11 near the North Pier Trail. Tickets are $100 apiece and 3,100 have already sold. He expects a sell-out by June 1. It goes on rain or shine.

"Beach 11 is a very protected, very serene area. It's just a beautiful place," he said, adding that the last row of concert- goers will be a mere 70 yards from the stage. "They'll be right on top of the action."

The group hasn't played in Erie for more than 20 years. …

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