Kittanning’s Fort Armstrong Folk Festival endures storms – Tribune

August 4, 2014 - table lamp

Wearing a feathered top and thick, round-frame glasses, Bill Vlasic sparked a gas-powered fire along a Allegheny River and cranked a feverishness to 1,300 degrees.

About a dozen congregation of a Fort Armstrong Folk Festival in Kittanning’s Riverfront Park watched with awe as he meticulously disfigured dual potion tubes opposite any other over a flame. Within 5 minutes, a fire licked one of a tubes underneath his instruction into a figure of a sea turtle about a distance of a walnut.

Vlasic’s admirers applauded as he coolly close down a fire and placed his work on a list alongside a dozens of other flare work pieces he’s offered during a festival.

“I’ve had a lot of practice,â€� pronounced Vlasic, 82. “I’ve been doing this for a prolonged time.â€�

Vlasic has participated as a businessman during a Fort Armstrong Folk Festival annually, yet fail, for a past 41 of a 43 years. He is, by far, a longest-tenured businessman during a festival, roving any year from his home in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, to sell a latest Vlasic Glass pieces.

He was creatively recruited to attend in a festival in 1973 by a event’s founder, who saw his displays during a identical festival in Youngstown, Ohio. What keeps him entrance back, he said, are a “friendly people and a park’s pleasing setting.â€�

“Where else can we get this?â€� he said, gesturing toward a tide as it gleamed in a sunlight. “The care is unequivocally good here, too. we go to a garland of these all via a area, and they’re not all as good orderly as this is.â€�

Jessica Coil, a festival’s executive director, pronounced some-more vendors participated in this year’s festival than any other. There were 63 vendors in a artist marketplace and 18 food vendors during a festival, that kicked off Thursday and ran by Sunday night.

Had it not been for a few thunderstorms during a weekend, Coil said, a festival would have expected brought in some-more congregation than ever before.

“We’re unequivocally gratified with a turnout,â€� she said. “We were jam packaged on Thursday and Friday. We slowed down a good understanding with a storms on Saturday, though, and we got a late start on Sunday with a morning storm, yet afterwards it unequivocally picked behind adult again.â€�

Sean Fox, who’s sole sell from his Greensburg-based association Unique Magnetic Jewelry during a festival for a past 5 years, pronounced he looks brazen to it each year as an event to enhance his clientele.

Like Coil, he believes a storms led to a dump in participation, yet was confident altogether with a turnout.

“The storms unequivocally hurt, yet we always do unequivocally good here,� he said. “The people are so accessible around here. we have people who come adult to me and they know me by name now.�

Among a festival’s regulars is Kittanning’s possess Lori Luke, who, during 54, hasn’t missed a Fort Armstrong Folk Festival given she was 10 years old. She spent each day final week during Riverfront Park to collect adult some food or crop a merchandise, she said.

For her, a festival is some-more than a fun approach to spend a afternoon. It’s partial of a lifeblood of a borough.

“It brings Kittanning behind to life,â€� she said. “I know people who devise reunion weekends around a festival or make skeleton to come behind to see everyone. It’s partial of a town’s identity. It’s a good tradition.â€�

Along with a dozens of jewelry, art and food tents set adult along a river, a festival featured a solid tide of party on a park’s dual stages. The acts enclosed all from stone performances to fiddle contests and from invertebrate shows to feats of strength.

On Saturday, a sleet dissolute in time for a fireworks uncover during 10 p.m., Coil said.

“It was good to get that in,â€� she said. “Over a whole 4 days, though, we consider people had an event to see some good party and exhibits. We work all year around to put this together, so it’s good when it works out like this.

“It’s an critical thing for Kittanning and a area during large.â€�

Braden Ashe is a staff author for Trib Total Media. He can be reached during 724-226-4673 or

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