Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nationality Days Festival Marks Its 50th Year Event Has Moved to Harmony Site

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nationality Days Festival Marks Its 50th Year Event Has Moved to Harmony Site

Article excerpt

The annual Ambridge Nationality Days festival that opens today will be special for two reasons - it's the festival's 50th year and it's in a new location.

For a half-century, the three-day ethnic celebration has transformed the Merchant Street business district in Ambridge into a giant street festival. Today through Sunday, Nationality Days will be staged at 2516 Duss Ave. in neighboring Harmony on the grounds of a former auto dealership.

The festival celebrates the area's ethnic heritage, food and music. This year, a dozen ethnic food booths will serve homemade cuisine spotlighting the Eastern European, Greek, Mediterranean and Asian roots of the community.

As usual, there will be entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, pony rides, a bounce house and an interactive children's area - all of the activities that have attracted more than 10,000 people to the festival in recent years.

Paul Mitchell, president of the Ambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, said the move was necessary because a Duquesne Light Co. inspection several years ago had determined that the electric capacity was unsafe on Merchant Street.

Last year, the chamber, which sponsors and runs Nationality Days, rented generators but the cost was $18,500 and the expense led to the chamber losing $3,500 on the annual event, which Mr. Mitchell said is usually the organization's best moneymaker, with proceeds funding operations.

The chamber had planned to move Nationality Days to a parking lot at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, but recently the sewer authority started a $17 million sewer project nearby, Mr. Mitchell said.

Chamber board members made phone calls, and officials in Harmony and Wright Chevrolet came through.

Kenny Wright has moved his dealership to 3800 Ohio River Blvd. in Baden, and he agreed to make his former site available for Nationality Days.

"We are thrilled to host the event," said Harmony manager Janet Miklos. "We are happy we had an area that would suit their needs. …

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