Community Connection
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By Ginny Tonkin staff blogger
Ginny Tonkin loves traveling off the beaten path, learning about new cultures through food, and everything outdoors. She recently spent eight months teaching English in Vietnam, and loves swapping travel stories.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-464-5589


Posts tagged "meadville"
Posted: September 13th, 2011
I'm not sure if I can tackle an entire pizza by myself, but I'll see what I can handle at the Taste of Meadville tonight.

I'm not sure if I can tackle an entire pizza by myself, but I'll see what I can handle at the Taste of Meadville tonight.

Tonight, I’m gearing up for my first Taste of Meadville.

The fifteen-year-old event showcases 30 different local food establishments at the Meadville Market House in Meadville from 5-8 tonight. For $25, ticket-holders can sample, buffet style, as much as they want of the signature dish presented by each group.

“Go all the way around and see all what’s available,” suggests Market Master Alice Sjolander. “Prioritize–there’s a lot of food!”

“You do what it says, you taste a little bit of Meadville at every table,” said Megan Pratt, Assistant Manager to Montana Rib & Chop House on Highlnad Drive in Meadville. This year, the Chop House is offering a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo as its signature dish.

The Montana Rib & Chop House was new last year to Taste of Meadville, and Pratt said she’s looking forward to interacting with the community.

“Without the people of Meadville, we wouldn’t have the establishment we do,” said Pratt. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

Proceeds from Taste of Meadville go to support the Market House, a lynch pin of the downtown Meadville community, that’s been operating since 1870.

Tickets were still on sale when I last checked, but the Market House suggests buying or reserving them ahead of time. Call the Market House for more information at 814-336-2056. Find them on Facebook.

Are you planning on going? Have you been before? It’s my first time, so I’d love any suggestions or tips on how to do this Meadville tradition right. Comment below or follow me on Twitter @GoCrawfordCTY. Check back for Taste of Meadville pictures.

If you’re going, we’d love to see your photos, too. Post them in our community album, just click on “submit photos.”

The event runs from 5-8 tonight at 910 Market Street in Meadville.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 10th, 2011
At the Meadville Council on the Arts booth, kids made their own paper sunflowers.

At the Meadville Council on the Arts booth, kids made their own paper sunflowers.

Saturday was the last Second Saturday Community Market at the Meadville Market House.

Check out photos from our photo gallery here.

Were you there? We’d love to see your photos. Just click on the “submit photos” button on the homepage.

How have you enjoyed the Second Saturday Community Market? Did you get a chance to go? Tell us, we’d love to hear from you.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 9th, 2011

Julie Scott’s mother survived breast cancer–three times. That’s one of the many reasons why she’s been involved with the Pink Ribbon Charity Classic Horse Show for the past three years. This show, running this weekend at the Crawford County Fairgrounds, is in its 4th year of partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and donates its proceeds to this fund for breast cancer research.

“It’s a labor of love for all of us,” said Scott, who is the event secretary and lives near Pittsburgh. “It’s a really important cause for us, and we care about what we’re doing.”

Supporting the fight against breast cancer is one great reason to attend says Scott, but the show itself is a huge draw for the people who show their horses.

“Why do I drive three and a half hours from Ohio?” said Mike Cunningham, owner of Jam Stables in Medina County, Ohio, who shows at the Classic, “It’s a really well put on show. I’ve been coming since the first.”

Cunningham’s father was born and raised in Meadville, and brings his dad, who now resides in State College, to the show. For the big classes tomorrow evening, he intends to wear a tuxedo–and muck boots if it’s raining.

“It’s a horse show, you get a whole mix of everything,” said Cunningham.

Event President Amy Haller is especially excited for the evening events. “We’re pinking out the fairgrounds,” she said. People come to the event, either decked to the nines or covered in pink, all to support the cause. To raise additional funds, and to keep the event fun, they’re raffling off prizes, including Steelers tickets and a golf cart.

The Crawford County Fair grandstand has been transformed into a grand show ring, complete with a landscaped center with a gazebo for the announcer and photographer. Behind the ring run tents, covering tables with pink table clothes for the sponsors who donated to support the show–and the cure. Event organizers are accepting sponsor applications for next year.

What can you do to help? According to Scott, filling the grandstands is the best way.

“For the performers, it just makes for a spectacular show,” she said.

Check back throughout the weekend for more photos from the Classic!

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 9th, 2011

This Saturday is the last Second Saturday Community Market at the Meadville Market House this summer. The event, which started in May, has seen great success in just its first year.

Lead organizer Dave Mosbacher says the market brings a buzz of business downtown.

“Due to the market, there’s been a lot of foot traffic downtown, primarily around Market Square, and the business around that area have all seen a steady increase over the summer during those days.”

Mosbacher says owners from Sandy’s Artworks and Creative Crust Bakery do their best business all summer during Second Saturday.

Business is also booming for the market itself, according to Market Master Alice Sjolander.

“It has really been a wonderful thing for the Market House. It has really increased our business, not only on Market day itself, but also in new customers who have maybe never been here before or not been here in a long time. They get to come inside and see what we have; it’s been really fantastic,” said Sjolander.

Second Saturday is also strengthening ties within the Meadville community.

Sales from reusable shopping bags with the Second Saturday logo on them have raised $400 for youth art classes at the Meadville Council on the Arts, located on the second floor of the Market House.

Sjolander says its also strengthened ties between generations coming to the Market House.

“They say I used to do this when I was little, or this is were I got my first baby chick, and now they have their children coming along with them. So, it’s the next generation coming in here to learn all about the Market House and also have a great love of the Market House, like their parents do, or grandparents,” said Sjolander.

Visitors can expect a harvest theme for the Second Saturday’s summer send off, running from 8-4 this Saturday.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: August 22nd, 2011

Contestants congratulate a stunned Kelly Thayer on her new title.

Contestants congratulate a stunned Kelly Thayer on her new title.

The Miss Crawford County Fair Queen Pageant, now in its third year, crowned Kelly Thayer as it’s newest queen Sunday night at the grandstand stage at the Crawford County Fair.

“Honestly, I thought I didn’t have it,” said Thayer, the newly crowned queen. “I had to do a double take when they called my name.”

Out of eight contestants, Thayer, 20, of Linesville, took the 2011 title. Thayer is a sophomore at DeVry University.

Thayer was awarded a $500 check from BIG Investment Group of Meadville. The Crawford County Fair Queen acts as the fair’s ambassador, visiting at community events and organizations on behalf of the fair.

“I can’t wait to be a representative for the Crawford County Fair. I’ve wanted this for so long,” said Thayer. “I messed up my skit, but I guess no one knew!”

Contestants are judged on a variety of criteria, including pre-pageant interviews, eveningwear, and on-stage questions. The women also perform a skit, as a form of a personal statement about what’s special about the Crawford County Fair and why someone should visit. This year’s contestants dressed up as a range of characters, including a rat, a tour guide, Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ, and Maria from the Sound of Music complete with a musical statement. Thayer portrayed a farmer’s wife, in a plaid dress and apron.

Katie Steider, departing Queen, takes her final walk.

Katie Steider, departing Queen, takes her final walk.

The pageant also hosted over thirty visiting pageant royalty from around the region. Any and all titleholders were invited to attend.

It was an emotional night for departing Queen Katie Steider, who even choked up a little on stage during her final walk.

“It’s been even better than I ever could have imagined,” said Steider, who said that ending her reign is bitter sweet.

She said her favorite memories included getting to read to regional elementary school students, and then having them greet her on the street.

“A little boy came up to me at a parade, and said, ‘Remember me? I’m from Mrs. Egan’s class,’” said Steider. “People really do look to you as a role model.”

She said she’s so thankful for the experience, but offers some advice to the next queen.

“To be as open minded as possible and meet as many people as you can,” said Steider. “We really have a lot of great people in Crawford.”

In addition to the title of queen, the pageant also recognizes the young women with several other awards. Jenny Washok won Miss Congeniality. Ashley Jackson took two, the Essay Contest (“What the Crawford County Fair means to my community”), and the Advertising Competition. The Community Choice Award went to Rebecca Hyde. The Interview Award went to Brianna Gallagher.

Check out photos from the pageant in our photo gallery. Were you there? Add your photo to our community photo album on

Keep following Community Connection and to get constant coverage all week long of the Crawford County Fair.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: August 8th, 2011

Saturday afternoon, I was shutter-happy in downtown Meadville, taking photos of everyone and everything at Thunder in the City. Below are my favorites from the event. Check out more photos on’s Thunder in the City gallery.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: August 8th, 2011
Couple sporting "Thunder in the City" T's watching The Earthquakers on the main stage in Meadville.

Couple sporting "Thunder in the City" T's watching The Earthquakers on the main stage in Meadville.

“Skin grows back, paint doesn’t,” said Meadville bike and car enthusiast John Limber to his wife.  When harsh weather had threatened one of his beloved bikes a few years ago, Limber had encouraged his wife to shield the bike with her body until they wheeled it inside.

With that kind of passion, it comes at no surprise that the couple spent their weekend at Thunder in the City, Meadville’s 3rd Annual Classic Car and Bike Show, held August 5-6.

Proudly standing by his 1977 Honda GL1000 Goldwing motorcycle on Chestnut Street during the event, Limber boasts, “I can say without reservation, I have the biggest garage in the City of Meadville.”

The garage can fit nine cars, three across, three deep. A passing neighbor agrees, “Yep, largest in Meadville.”

Thunder in the City started Friday night with bike night, complete with a cornhole competition, contests, and music. Saturday, classic cars lined up around Diamond Park, for the public to see. Registered cars could also cast their vote for the best in show in the city. Saturday also featured the Rusty Hanaway Memorial Bike Run, where bikes paraded up Park Avenue into the downtown.

More than just roaring engines and flashy metal, the event brought something for everyone, with plenty of kids’ activities in Diamond Park, music on multiple stages, and vendors all over the downtown area.

Helping East End Elementary raise money for their playground--with a baseball bat--at the Car Bash.

Helping East End Elementary raise money for their playground--with a baseball bat--at the Car Bash.

East End Elementary School raised money for their playground in a unique way—the Car Bash. For $1, participants had 30 seconds with a baseball bat against an old, black car. Want to know where you left your mark? Bash organizers spray painted your initials where you left your mark on the exterior.

Kids’ activities also included inflatables, balloon animals, and face painting.

Now in its 3rd year, Thunder in the City is attracting a loyal following. The Presque Isle Corvette Club, who had about 18 corvettes from the club attend the event, said they juggled their schedule to come.

PI Corvette Club president, David Mays said, “To fit in as much as we can, we moved our Polka Run to last week, because we wanted to be here at Thunder in the City.”

Find this article in print in on Friday!  

Looking for your picture? Check’s Thunder in the City gallery! Watch videos from the event on the video player. Follow me @GinnyTonkin for updates.

Do you have photos from Thunder in the City? Post them on’s community album. Just click on “submit your photo.”

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: July 7th, 2011

My wandering feet will take me south to Meadville this Saturday for two events: Second Saturday Community Market and Music Fest.

Fruit creation made at Meadville's Second Saturday Community Market.

Fruit creation made at Meadville's Second Saturday Community Market.

1) Second Saturday Community Market.

I had fun at last month’s Market in June. It was my first month back stateside and my first week back on the job, and the fair was a welcome piece of Americana to ease me back into the swing of good ole’ neighborly-ness. All booths and vendors are local, offering local food (fresh, baked and prepared), crafts, artwork, and other unique goods.

Entertainment was local, too, with performers from the greater NWPA area. Last month’s “Healthy Living” theme had the Kid’s Corner making edible faces. Anyone know what’s up for “Creative Process?”

If I get a chance to stop by, ask me to take your picture for Check out last month’s photos here, and my blog post.

2) Crawford County Music Fest

Never have I ever…. been to Sprague Farm & Brew Works. And I think it’s about time. After good hearsay and a trip to their webpage, I’m excited to drop on by the rustic microbrewery to experience the Crawford County Music Fest.

Branded as a mini-woodstock by presenters WQLN, the Fest aims to be the Phoenix reborn from WQLN’s 1970′s annual Bluegrass/American Roots music festival. I’ll be wandering around, gathering photos and video from the event. Flash a smile, do a little dance, and you might just see yourself on

Check out contributor Tom New’s article for the line up and more information on Music Fest.

Are you going to the Second Saturday Community Market or Crawford County Music Fest? Be sure to say hi! Submit your own pictures and video on


Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: June 30th, 2011
Practicing "Coronation Scene" from the opera Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky

Practicing "Coronation Scene" from the opera Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky

Vacation may mean lounging beachside for some, but for those attending Band Camp for Adult Musicians at Allegheny College, it means devoting one week to their love of music.

“They are working from 8 to 8:30, 12 hour days. I don’t think I’d do that at 37, let alone 67,” said Amiee Reash, Camp Director and Adjunct Instructor if Music at Allegheny. “But this is their vacation for many.” Campers either stay on-campus or in bed and breakfasts around the area, going out with friends after a long days’ rehearsal.

According to Reash, band camp “is essentially a gathering of highly dedicated, highly committed amateur musicians.” Gathering musicians from across the States, and even two from Australia, the camp allows musicians to devote time to both full-ensemble and small-ensemble work.

“We have jazz band, a Dixieland band, anything you want,” said Reash.

Conductor Tim Foley, in his sixth year at the camp, says it’s working with a dedicated group of musicians that make the experience rewarding.

“Some of them have been playing music the majority of their lives their lives, and some of them have just started three, four, five years ago. But they all love music,” said Foley, “We really enjoy the interaction with the music and the interaction from each other.”

Farris and Raskin coordinate their outfits each day for camp.

Farris and Raskin coordinate their outfits each day for camp.

Campers make friends for life here, returning each year to share in their camaraderie. Saxophonists Dianne Farris, from Tennessee, and Julie Raskin, from Maryland, share something else unique in common—their outfits! From head to toe—earrings to socks—they come coordinated.

Farris vented good-naturedly that no one had noticed their socks from the day before—adorned with fuzzy ducks! They have attended for 20 and 21 years, respectively.

“Not only is it a good chance to play good music with good conductors, but it’s a good chance to meet people and then carry on friendships all those years,” said Raskin. “These are people who understand you, they’re musicians, too.

Denise Deerson, from Melbourne, Australia, is a two-year returnee. She said she heard about the camp from a fellow Australian band camp friend.

“I said, ‘That’s a good excuse for traveling,’” said Deerson, after her first year. “So much fun, such a lovely trombone group that we had, great roommates, just a terrific experience, fabulous conductor, great band, everything good.”

The band meets for two one-week sessions in June each summer, and concludes with an evening performance on the last Friday.


Check July 8, to see it in print! Check out more photos on in “Community Photos.”



Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: June 30th, 2011
French horns add their sound to "Coronation Scene" from the opera Boris Godunov.

French horns add their sound to "Coronation Scene" from the opera Boris Godunov.

Out and about in Meadville this week, I got a chance to to pop my head into Shafer Auditorium at Allegheny College. Inside, over 60 musicians from the region, across the country, and even two from Australia, joined onstage for the College’s Band Camp for Adult Musicians.

Check our photo gallery for more shots from the week!

Were you at the camp? What are your favorite camp experiences?

Have you heard them play? What were your favorite pieces?

Check out this article by GoCrawford contributor John Flemming about their Gala concert tomorrow night.


Posted in: Crawford County

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