Tube City Community Media Inc. is seeking freelance writers to help cover city council, news and feature stories in McKeesport, Duquesne, White Oak and the neighboring communities. High school and college students seeking work experience are encouraged to apply; we are willing to work with students who need credit toward class assignments. Please send cover letter, resume, two writing samples and the name of a reference (an employer, supervisor, teacher, etc. -- not a relative) to tubecitytiger@gmail.com.

To place your ad, email tubecitytiger@gmail.com.
Ads start at $1 per day, minimum seven days.

Rain Didn't Stop Families, Fans from Attending Village

By Charlotte Hopkins
The Tube City Almanac
August 18, 2018
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: Chuck Bray was born and raised in McKeesport and said he's never missed attending International Village. (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport's 59th International Village got off to a rocky start this year due to a string of rain showers on the first day.

The muddy grounds at Renziehausen Park's Stephen Barry Field showed the aftereffects of the storm, but it didn't stop fans of the annual festival from joining in the festivities on days two and three.

The three-day event, which began in 1960, is run completely by volunteers, the majority of which are the array of churches playing tribute to the rich history of ethnic groups in America.

Above: Patty Jean McClirk of Moon Twp. has been selling her homemade fudge at International Village for 15 years. Merrill Christy of McKeesport was one of her happiest customers at this year's festival. She said McClirk's fudge stands out because it stays soft and creamy for 6-8 weeks. (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Bria Christian, Rochelle Pollard and Amaiya Dinsel-Terrell were among those enjoying every part of Wednesday's events, especially the food! Pollard bragged about how delicious the falafels were from the Lebanese booth.

Christian's favorite on Wednesday was the chicken-on-a-stick from the Vietnamese booth. Terrell, who is attending for the first time, was still soaking in everything happening around her. Her mom, Pollard, has been coming since she was a baby and used to sing onstage with the Bethlehem Baptist Church.

(Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Shiva Roka (above left), along with Michelle Bloom (above right), brought their children Turk, Shiba and Ellora to their first visit to International Village. This is Bloom's second year attending. Roka, who grew up in McKeesport, has attended throughout the years. Bloom is enjoying the wide variety of food.

However, Roka is a vegetarian so most of the food selections are not an option for him. He is still enjoying the ambiance of different nationalities coming together on this day, and not to mention the variety of upbeat music.

(Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport native Cinnamon Coles (above) brought her twins, Kaiden and Haiden Montgomery, on their first visit to International Village. The kids were enjoying the music and the sights all around them, but on Wednesday, the only food they would eat was Damon's Spiral Fries from the France booth.

Coles was enjoying the apple dumplings. She was anxious to show her children everything that she loved from the festival --- and also was hopeful that her picky eaters would eventually sample a few more food varieties.

Above: Patti, Lucy, Joe and Audrey (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Patti and Joe enjoyed International Village when they were growing up but when they moved to Arizona 43 years ago, they had no idea it would take this long to come back. But here they are today, along with their daughter Lucy, who currently lives on Pittsburgh's South Side, and family friend, Audrey from Trafford.

Patti described the day as “absolutely perfect, with the music playing and so many people coming together on this beautiful day.” Some of their favorite foods from the day were the Reuben sandwiches from the Ireland booth and the lamb from the Croatia booth.

They tried to get lamb on Tuesday, but by the time they reached the front of the line they were sold out. On the second day, they stood in the same line for almost an hour and that time they were successful.

When Patti was asked what her favorite part of the day was she stated, “the whole concept is my favorite, there can't be one bad thing said about this day, not one bad thing.”

(Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Charlene Filsaime (above left) started coming to International Village when she was 8 years old. That was 24 years ago! And on Wednesday she brought her daughter, Cheyenne Rhone (right) for her first visit to the event that was a staple of growing up.

The sights, the smells, the food booths and seeing her old friends are an emotional time for Filsaime, who describes attending the village as "a big part" of her childhood. She was a student at St. Mary Czestochowa, which is now Propel School McKeesport.

The Croatian, Slovakian and Hungarian food booths are her favorites because the food brings back so many memories for her. “I love how the churches and the people come together to support the children," she said. "It's a perfect time to come out and support the community.”

Rhone was excited to sample the variety of food and enjoyed the deep-fried cheesecake from the Hawaiian booth.

(Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Friends Vince Dandrea and Eric Zigarovich said their favorite part of Wednesday was “definitely seeing the different foods to eat.” When they stopped to have their photo taken, the Greek food and the Philippines' glazed chicken were their favorites, though Dandrea said "nothing" tops the Turner's Dairy iced tea that he was carrying all day.

Dandrea has been coming to the event his whole life, though since he moved away, he missed the last two years. He was glad to back and said his mother and grandmother have attended International Village since it first began in 1960.

Charlotte Hopkins is a freelance writer from West Elizabeth. She may be reached at domyno83@yahoo.com.

Originally published August 18, 2018.

In other news:
"Duquesne to Pursue Et…" || "School Board Hires Ko…"