Music, mammals and motorcycles highlight fourth annual fall festival
FOUR-BAND OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES;
KIDS' ZONE FEATURES BENGAL TIGER;
BIKE RUN AND PIG ROAST
Under a canopy of a blue sky smudged by white clouds that produced a background that was worthy of a Bud Gibbons landscape painting, the fourth annual fall festival got under way Sept. 29 at Penn State New Kensington. Local residents as well as students, faculty and alumni and their children were on campus for a variety of activities that started in the morning and went into the evening.
The highlight of the festival was the four-band outdoor concert series. Music aficionados of a variety of genres were treated to seven hours of music by Gene the Werewolf, Chris Higbee, Dimwit and 3 Dudes Chillin. The eclectic sounds of rock and roll, country rock, classic rock and alternate rock/reggae/hip-hop reverberated throughout the Upper Burrell campus. The younger crowd in front of the stage danced and sang along with the band while the older crowd sat on lawn chairs and enjoyed the ambiance.
Chris Higbee and his fiddle had the festival crowd rockin'.
The festival opened at 10 a.m. with the campus’ first Motorcycle Run. Twenty-five bikes took off from the upper parking lot and headed for a 100-mile ride to Indiana, Pa., and back. At the conclusion, a police four-wheeler escorted the bikes through the campus and to the finish line. The participants were treated to a pig roast. The run was co-sponsored by "Military Connections,” a non-profit organization that provides care packages, equipment and various supplies to troops stationed overseas. Participants donated a variety of items for use by the troops.
At 11 a.m., the food and craft booths opened. Fourteen crafters and five food vendors peddled a variety of wares and edibles. Free back massages by Allegheny Medical and Wellness Associates in Brackenridge was a popular stop for the tired-muscle crowd. On-site chainsaw carvings by Eric Swaney also drew a steady stream of onlookers throughout the day.
A Bengal tiger made a cameo appearance at the Kids Zone.
Children also had their fair share of the fun as more than 500 youngsters and their parents took part in the Kids' Zone activities which featured two inflatibles (the Rattler Run obstacle course and moon bounce slide), crafts and a pumpkin patch. Face painting artists and the balloon lady were also a big hit with the little kids and the big kids, who put on their game faces for the bed race. A highlight was a live animal show that featured exotic animals, including a Bengal tiger.
The almost-world-renown Bed Race had five-person teams vying for campus bragging rights. The field included the Valley Vikes, a squad of football players from Valley High School. The Lion Ambassadors maneuvered around the measured course in the best time and were rewarded with the Bed Race trophy, emblematic of bed racing superiority. The Valley Vikes, resplendent in their black and gold football jerseys came away with the “Most Spirited” hardware.
The men's soccer match, originally scheduled on campus as a featured attraction of the festival, was moved to the Valley High School field because of renovations to the campus field. The New Kensington Lions remain undefeated in the conference with a 2-0 victory over Penn State Brandywine. The win moved coach Pat Cavanaugh’s team in to first-place with a 6-0 record, a half-game ahead of Penn College.
While the soccer game was coming to a conclusion, the Penn State football team was facing Illinois on a big screen TV inside the alumni tent on the lawn of the Conference Center. Sponsored by the Alle-Kiski Society of the Penn State Alumni Association, the tent, dubbed "Alumni Central," brought together alumni, friends, faculty and staff to cheer the Nittany Lions to a 35-7 victory and to enjoy refreshments.