For this year's event, many old things are new again
The chairwoman says people who have volunteered deserve much credit.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- There was a concern a year ago that the annual community Buhl Day celebration was going to disappear.
Organizers said at the time that raising money to put on the one-day event each Labor Day was becoming difficult and the list of people willing to volunteer to help was growing short.
But Buhl Day got a new lease on life when Janet Buzzeo, who had served as chairwoman of the Buhl Day Parade for the past several years, stepped forward to take on the duties as chairwoman for the entire event.
Buzzeo, aided by Jessica Yourema, who is serving as her assistant, have put together what Buzzeo is calling "a spectacular 25th" anniversary of the modern version of Buhl Day.
She's quick to give credit to others, pointing out that many have volunteered to help because they also don't want to see the community tradition end.
Nick and Melissa Baron of Sharon are taking a hand in organizing this year's event and have agreed to take over the duties of chairing it next year -- and they will need a lot of volunteer assistance, Buzzeo said.
How it began
Buhl Day began in 1915 as a tribute to industrialist Frank H. Buhl and his wife, Julia, who created the 300-acre Buhl Farm Park as a free recreational area for area residents. The annual celebration was held until the start of World War II and then resumed in 1980, drawing as many as 25,000 people some years.
Buzzeo said some of the focus of the 25th anniversary of the modern version of Buhl Day this year goes back to the original form of Buhl Day.
For one thing, local community groups have taken a hand in helping organize specific activities, she said.
The Kiwanis Club is helping organize and direct the parade that kicks off the festivities, while the Jaycees have taken on the task of providing "old-fashioned" games such as the ones played at the original Buhl Days, Buzzeo said. That includes things like a sack race and a three-legged race for teens, she said.
Two relatively new community groups, Connections and Foundations, both of which provide support for autistic children and their families, will operate a dunking booth, an activity making its debut this year, Buzzeo said.
Local municipalities have been asked to provide elected officials willing to take a turn getting dunked by Buhl Day patrons, she said.
Dancing, something found at the original Buhl Days but missing from the modern version, will make a return this year, Buzzeo said.
A tent for dancers will be set up near Shelter 3 in the park and music will vary during the day, starting with a polka band and later offering a country and western band and, finally, teen garage bands.
To broaden the general appeal of the event, a new area will be opened near Shelter 3 specifically targeting young teens with the old-fashioned games and a climbing wall, Buzzeo said.
A Classic Car Cruise-In, missing in recent years, will return and entries will be judged.
A lot of Buhl Day history will be presented throughout the day at the Activities Building and "Buhl Day Memories," a vignette about the first Buhl Days and how the park was created, will be presented on the hour at that location as well, Buzzeo said.
Fireworks, missing for the last several years, will also make a return for the 25th anniversary, she said.
The Shenango Valley Shuttle Service trolley will put in an appearance this year, making the rounds of the park to provide transportation to visitors who have a difficult time walking distances.
Buzzeo said the cost of this year's event is expected to reach about $40,000 and she's still working to raise some of that money.
To help, the Buhl Day Committee will be selling at a souvenir stand limited-edition souvenir sun catchers featuring a scene of the park's Casino and Lake Julia. Forms for pre-ordering the sun catchers at $12 each are available at the park office in the Casino.
Commemorative candy bars will also be available.
Donations can be sent to the Buhl Day Committee, P.O. Box 1209, Sharon, Pa. 16146.
As usual, there will be some pre-Buhl Day events for the public Sept. 4.
A 45-and-over golf tournament at the Buhland Golf course begins at 8 a.m. for men and 11 a.m. for women.
The annual fishing derby at Lake Julia runs from 9 a.m. to noon that day and the 19th annual Junior Tennis Tournament on the park courts begins at 9:30 a.m.
Various community, church and social-service groups will be providing food throughout the day.
Shenango Valley Shuttle Service buses will again be providing free transportation to and from the park for senior citizens at Connelly and Riverview apartments in Sharon, Buchanan Manor in Wheatland, Lavigne Manor in Farrell, Gargano Towers in Farrell, Fornelli Manor in Sharon and Mertz Towers in Sharpsville.