Vandergrift Firefighters’ Carnival Kicks Off Alle-Kiski Valley Festival Season

After losing about $10,000 in revenue to the pandemic, organizers of the annual Vandergrift Firefighters Carnival hope to recoup much-needed funds with this year’s event.

The carnival begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. every night until Saturday, weather permitting, in Kennedy Park.

Sponsored by the Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Department, the event is the largest fundraiser for the fire company.

“It was hard to replace when we had to cancel in 2020 due to covid,” Reilly said. “It’s a great way to get the community out and get together to start the summer right after school ends.”

Carnival proceeds will be used to purchase personal safety equipment, maintain and repair vehicles, and cover training costs.

Organizers said last year’s carnival exceeded expectations, raising around $4,500.

“We had good weather all week. It was one of our best years,” Reilly said.

The carnival has been a summer staple in the borough for over 30 years.

Reilly credited the fabulous weather for a robust attendance of around 500 on opening night last year.

“It was our first completely dry week in recent memory. The long-term weather doesn’t look promising, but we’re taking what we can get. This is the risk we take to remain the premier carnival in the AK Valley every year,” Reilly said.

Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

The Vandergrift Firefighters Carnival takes place June 7-11 in Kennedy Park in Vandergrift. A dragon ride awaits riders in this photo from Carnival 2021.

Vandergrift City Councilor Marilee Kessler said the carnival brings memories to many in the borough.

“Our three children had so much fun. There were always funnel cakes, cotton candy and lemonade,” Kessler said. “All their friends went too. They loved going and coming home with teddy bears bigger than themselves.

All-night passes are $20.

Concessions, games, food and rides are provided by family-owned Greenock-based Penn Premier Shows.

Penn Premier Shows opened in 1937 and currently offers an 18 ride operation including the Umbrella Combo, Dragon Wagon, Classic Carousel, Sizzler, Round Up, Magic Carpet Slide and a Ferris Wheel.

With a focus on safety, Penn Premier meets all Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture requirements, maintains a certified inspector on staff, is insured, and is a member of the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety.

Joyce Hanz is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725, [email protected] or via Twitter .