JOYCE HANZ | Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 12:01 a.m.
Downtown New Kensington was packed Saturday as thousands enjoyed the third annual New Kensington Wine and Beer Festival.
Back bigger than ever after being canceled in 2020 because of the covid-related pandemic, an Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce official said attendance swelled to between 5,000 and 7,000 people.
“This was done to be a community event and bring attention to the area,” said chamber Executive Director Lynda Pozzuto.
Pozzuto said a portion of the event proceeds would be given to New Kensington’s parks and recreation department.
“The people, the gathering, food, the camaraderie. There’s a lot happening in New Kensington,” said Natalie Thomas of Plum.
Thomas enjoyed homemade empanadas from a food truck with her husband, Don, who was originally from New Kensington.
The couple said they’re happy to see numerous events happening in the city as revitalization efforts continue.
“It was dead for a lot of years, but there’s a lot going on now,” Don Thomas said.
A large stage outside of Voodoo Brewery served as central point, with live music performed by New Ken Bred with Jimbo Jackson.
Since the event was held on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the festival began with what many of those in attendance described as a moving 9/11 tribute emceed by New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo.
Piper Michelle Hardt of South Buffalo played “Amazing Grace” on her bagpipes during the ceremony.
“There’s really a nice vibe here,” Hardt said, “and it’s about community and people coming together.”
The event was sponsored by Allegheny-Kiski Postal FCU, Sweet Tillies, Trovo Co., ALKAB Contract Manufacturing and New Kensington Floral.