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Village Will Cap Summer for Local Residents

Three-day festival returns Aug. 15-17 in Renzie Park

By Jason A. Mignanelli
The Tube City Almanac
August 02, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of the Rankin Junior Tamburitzans perform during International Village in 2021. The group is scheduled to return this year and perform Aug. 16. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


McKeesport International Village

Where: Renziehausen Park, Eden Park Boulevard

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 15, 16, 17, 2023

Admission: $2 at the gate

Parking: Available in the park or nearby

More information: InternationalVillage.info or Facebook

The first McKeesport International Village took place in 1960 and has been a source of summer fun ever since.

What was once part of a 10-day long celebration known as “Old Home Week,” has emerged as a three-day celebration of McKeesport’s heritage and history, and 63 years after its inception, Greater Pittsburgh’s longest-running celebration of traditional food, music and dancing is about to kick off again.

This year’s festival will run from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 15 to 17 at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park.

For Mikey Dee, a native of McKeesport and the entertainment director for the festival, International Village each year brings back many fond memories from his childhood. “I remember coming with my parents and grandparents and tasting the food and hearing the music, it was special,” said Dee.

Mikey Dee and his Croatian-style polka band have played music at the festival since 1990.

“There’s many different types of polka music and they all sound a little bit different,” said Dee. “I’m a fan of the more traditional stuff because that’s what I grew up listening to. However, at an event like this we will play a lot of popular songs that people will recognize also.”

The city of McKeesport expects about 20,000 visitors from all over Pittsburgh and beyond to attend the festival, said Mayor Mike Cherepko.

“As always, International Village will be a lively heritage festival that will celebrate our roots and various nationalities,” he said. “Not only do visitors come from all over our region to enjoy sights, sounds, and tastes from around the world, but for many McKeesporters past and present, it feels like a reunion.”

Cherepko said that as a kid, he looked forward to International Village every year — even though it meant fall, and school, were just around the corner.

“International Village has always been the last big event of the summer,” he said. “We always enjoyed getting together with friends and eating all the different foods. It was bittersweet, however, because it meant summer was coming to a close.”

As always, most of the work at this year’s festival will be done by volunteers, Cherepko said.

“I always talk about how important volunteers are in the McKeesport community,” he said. “International Village is no different. We have a hardworking committee made up of individuals who truly give their all in making sure we have created an enjoyable experience.”

Annette James of McKeesport knows all about volunteering. She is the secretary of the Lions Club and one of the residents working hard to make the International Village a success.

“I have been a member of the club since 2012,” said James. We not only volunteer for this festival but we do several events throughout the year — Kids Village, Good Neighbor Day, Salvation Army bell ringing, White Cane Days, and the annual First Responders Dinner are just a few of the events that we help with.”

Events like this one are important to the city and the region, Cherepko said.
“International Village is McKeesport’s biggest event of the year,” he said. “It’s one of the many events that create a sense of community and bring people from all backgrounds together.”

Jason A. Mignanelli is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh’s North Hills and a student at Duquesne University. He may be reached at mignanellij@duq.edu.

Schedule of Entertainment

Live, continuous entertainment begins at 6 p.m. each evening of the festival on the main stage (Stephen Barry Field) and continues until 9 p.m. Dancing will take place nightly from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion, adjacent to the food booths.

Tuesday, August 15
Main Stage: Program starts at 6 p.m.
Fireworks Night

    6 — TJ International Club (Sweden)
    6:40 — Shovlin Irish Dancers  
    7:30 — Grecian Odessey Dancers
    8 — Introduction of local officials
    8:15 — Lajkoniki Polish Dancers
    8:45 — Fireworks

Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion: Polka Night with Jack Tady & The JTB

Wednesday, August 16
Main Stage: Program starts at 6 p.m.

    6 — Alpen Muzikanten (Austria)
    7 — Lebanese Belly Dancer
    7:30 — Rankin Jr. Tamburitzans
    8 — Jr. Tamburitzans of Duquesne

Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion: Mikey Dee Tamburitza Stars

Thursday, August 17
Main Stage: Program starts at 6 p.m.

    6 — ABC by JoAnn (Hawaiian)
    6:30 — Neighborhood Kolo Dancers
    7 — FAAP Philippine Dancers
    8 — Otets Paiisi Bulgarian Dancers

Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion: The Nu-Tones

Originally published August 02, 2023.

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