Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Sunday for Porches Businesses, Charitable Efforts Raise Money, Build Cameraderie during Summerset at Frick Park's Event in Squirrel Hill

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Sunday for Porches Businesses, Charitable Efforts Raise Money, Build Cameraderie during Summerset at Frick Park's Event in Squirrel Hill

Article excerpt

The warm and sunny weather Sunday was made for porches. The only classic missing was lemonade, and to that end, Mary Ellen Meyer brought something even better.

Co-owner of Strip District's Wigle Wiskey - its website notes she is the "distillery mom" - she was mixing up free "mocktails" and allowing visitors to add their choice of four kinds of bitters.

There were many who would raise a glass to the "Summerset Porch Party at Frick Park," an event part fundraiser, and part community mixer.

"It started as an initiative among neighbors, and everybody loves porches," said Evelyn Castillo, who coordinated the inaugural event.

Summerset is a sprawling Squirrel Hill community of new houses, condos and "luxury rentals," perched high above the Monongahela River. Many of the buildings feature porches, which was inspiration for the event.

Seventeen properties sported decorated porches, more than half on Overton Lane.

Many homeowners donated the use of their porches, some of which were dedicated to various causes. Others were decorated by local businesses and nonprofit organizations such as Jewelry Love. The last is an initiative led by Pittsburgh Allderdice teacher Julie Farber and students.

Their goal was to design pieces that would be gifts for women with cancer. There also was a porch representing Allegheny CleanWays. Photos of the mounds of trash removed from area rivers and streams were a stark contrast against the backdrop of Summerset's well-maintained lawns and flower beds.

"I think Pittsburgh is getting better, but when we take people out [on cleanup trips] they're still pretty surprised," said programs director Janee Romesberg.

Then there were the porches decorated just for fun: The Prop Shop in the Strip District was represented by a fiberglass menagerie that included an elephant, giraffe and a gorilla. …

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