Three men were honored for their service to the Shenango Valley.
By SEAN BARRON
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Frank Rickman and his wife, Elaine, appreciated being in the same parade two consecutive years, while a host of activities yet to be done were on the minds of his three excited daughters.
Rock climbing, a petting zoo, inflatable rides and a dunking booth were on the most-favored list for Rickman's daughters Maggie, 6, Savannah, 7, and Sierra, 12.
"It saves us having to do a picnic," said Rickman, of Sharpsville, Pa. "It's fun having the family together."
The Rickman family was among thousands of people who filled Buhl Park to attend Monday's 27th annual Buhl Day, which featured food as well as free entertainment and activities. The Rickmans exemplify what Buhl Day organizers say the event is all about: family-oriented activities and fun.
Also part of the annual day is recognition of those who have contributed to the betterment of the Shenango Valley through their voluntary efforts, explained Mary Ellen Foltz, a Buhl Day committee member and chairwoman of the honored guests.
This year's recipients of Buhl Day honors were William T. Evans, Dr. Leonard Pleban and Joe Shafran, all of whom received gifts and rode in the lead vehicle as part of a 11/2-mile-long parade that marched down East State Street and Buhl Boulevard to Buhl Farm.
Pleban, a podiatrist for 56 years, was praised for offering free medical services and being team doctor for 50 years to Sharon High School's athletics department.
The Hermitage man, who was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1990, also was honored for his practice of making house calls and for offering his services to area nursing homes.
"It's very humbling," he said of being selected. "Being picked is overwhelming."
Evans, also of Hermitage, retired after a 43-year career with the Shenango Valley Water Co., and was given accolades for volunteering for Meals on Wheels as well as for having a hand in numerous projects that provided scholarships to high school students, among other things.
Before moving to Annapolis, Md., 30 years ago, Shafran worked as news anchor and head of the news department for Sharon radio station WPIC-AM 790. Despite being away from the Valley since 1976, Shafran has kept in close contact with the area, having started the Mercer County Oral History Project in 1995. The project captures tape recordings of stories from early residents, dignitaries and others in the county.
Car made in Sharon
As part of the project, Shafran also was instrumental in raising $10,000 to bring a 1915 Twombly automobile from Pittsburgh to the area. The vehicle, said to be the only car manufactured in Sharon, got 40 mpg and could travel up to 50 mph; it is owned by the Mercer County Historical Society, Shafran said.
The Twombly wasn't the only vehicle on hand for car enthusiasts to congregate around. Music by Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, Bobby Darin, the Beach Boys and others filled the air as a four-hour car cruise got into motion.
People took their time walking past a 1932 Chevy and a '38 Chevrolet, a 1957 Belair and a host of other vintage vehicles from the past, as well as a 2004 Toyota Prius on display. The Prius gets more than 50 mpg and operates on gasoline and electricity.
Plenty of food vendors were on hand, as well as a plethora of entertainment that included the Shenango Valley Chorale, Come Together (a Beatles tribute band), Kalico and the Carl Marks band, which started around 50 years ago.
An art show also was on the bill after having been brought back last year, noted Nick Baron, a co-chairman. Also chairing this year's Buhl Day committee are Baron's wife, Melissa, and Terry Whalen of West Middlesex.
Buhl Day history
Buhl Day got under way in 1915 and continued until World War II when industrialist Frank H. Buhl and his wife, Julia, decided to honor the Valley's working men and women. It resumed in 1980 and honors the Buhls, who donated the park to the community.
Much of Buhl's life was spent in the steel industry and in real estate. Buhl also is credited for giving to the area what is said to be the world's only free golf course, Shafran said.
Baron noted that the Annual Fishing Derby on Lake Julia and the 45 & amp; Older Golf Tournament for men and women at Buhland Golf Course have been rescheduled because of Saturday's inclement weather. The fishing derby for children age 2 to 12 is set for 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 16 at the lake; the golf event is slated to begin Saturday at 8 a.m. for men and 11 a.m. for women, Baron said.