ERIE Magazine June/July 2014

Page 1


Where People Meet to Eat

Erie’s ethnic festivals preserve timeless traditions while they change with the times


IN THE ERIE REGION Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

Meet me…at the County Fair Funnel cakes, farm animals and the people who make it all happen

2014 Fairs & Festivals Check out our list of local Fairs & Festivals for 2014

ERCGP BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2014 OFFICERS Dr. Keith Taylor, CHAIR Marsha Marsh, VICE-CHAIR David Tullio, SECRETARY Mike Weber, TREASURER . BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dr. Jay Badams Joel Berdine Dr. Donald Birx John Bloomstine Carl Carlotti Terrence Cavanaugh Gary Clark John Dill Mary Eckert Scott Eighmy Jeffrey Evans James Fiorenzo Charles “Boo” Hagerty Timothy Hunter Chuck Knight John Leemhuis, Esq. Jim E. Martin

Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership 2014 Signature Events


Annual Golf Outing *RESCHEDULED*

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Peek’n Peak Resort and Spa

ERCGP STAFF Barbara C. Chaffee President/CEO

Sabrina Chirco Director of Research

Jacob A. Rouch Vice President, Economic Development

Douglas M. Massey Director, Business Action Team

August P. Schiava Vice President, Chamber

Cathy Noble Events Coordinator

Linda C. Robbins Financial Officer

Susan M. Ronto Membership Coordinator

Benjamin C. Pratt Executive Director, Growth Partnership Division

Brett Wiler Account Executive

Nadeen M. Steffey Director of Marketing and Communications EDITOR Nadeen M. Steffey


Fall Member Fest


Annual Meeting

Thursday, September 25, 2014 Shades Beach

Thursday, November 6, 2014 Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel & Conference Center

Sponsorships available; contact Brett Wiler at for details!

Bob Mazza Marlene Mosco Jack Munch Neil Parham Jim Riley Jim Rutkowski, Jr. Matthew Schultz Nick Scott, Jr. Gretchen Seth Ron Steele Tom Tupitza, Esq. Russell Warner, Esq. Scott Whalen Mary Beth Wilcher Dr. Julie Wollman Scott Wyman

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Chacona Mary Birdsong DESIGN PAPA Advertising ADVERTISING INFORMATION Brett Wiler Account Executive (814) 454-7191 x137


New Investors


FE ATURE AR TICLE S Where People Meet to Eat 18 Erie’s ethnic festivals preserve timeless traditions while they change with the times by John Chacona Meet me…at the County Fair Funnel cakes, farm animals and the people who make it all happen by Mary Birdsong


SPECIAL EDITION 2014 Fairs & Festivals 26 Check out our list of local Fairs & Festivals Ribbon Cuttings


IN E ACH ISSUE Organizational Updates 10 Consistent Feature 12 ERIE Entrepreneurship Erie Ambassador Class, Spring 2014 14 Regional Initiative Updates 16



Cool logos, direct mail, event posters and signage, pay-per-click campaigns, social media, websites and more for your next big event. Contact us to discuss how we can help you create an epic soaker.

MAKE A SPLASH 814 454.6236

June 19

5:00 – 7:00 PM FMC Technologies 1602 Wagner Avenue Erie, PA 16514

July 17

Business After Hours is a members only networking event of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. Contact Cathy at (814) 454-7191 x146 or for more info.

5:00 – 7:00 PM WICU TV 3514 State Street Erie, PA 16508

August 21

5:00 – 7:00 PM Habibi Mediterranean Cuisine 127 West 14th Street Erie, PA 16501

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

New Investors SILVER LEVEL

Better Baked Foods

Better Baked Foods is a contract manufacturer, committed to producing high-quality, frozen, hand-held products for its customers. Better Baked Foods has the capacity and systems in place to meet the stringent demands and expectations of the food industry, the consumer, and the customer. Joseph Pacinelli 56 Smedley Street / North East, PA 16428 PH (814) 725-8778 / FX (814) 725-5021


AcousticSheep, LLC designs and manufactures soft comfortable headphones in a patented headband design, with an emphasis on using environmentally-friendly materials and manufacturing processes. We strive to use local resources, stay technologically-savvy, and be socially responsible as we create the market for innovative headband headphones. Karen Kaiser 2001 Peninsula Drive / Erie, PA 16506 PH (877) 838-4790

Affiliated Grounds Maintenance Group, Inc.

To provide exceptional exterior services to facilities across the United States and Canada with its network of professionally trained affiliate partners who are overseen by AGMG’s highly experienced and ethical management team of certified landscape and certified snow management professionals. Jen Kohler 5148 Peach Street / Erie, PA 16509 PH (866) 923-2464 / FX (877) 435-2464

Bayfront NATO, Inc.

The mission of the MLK center is to improve the condition of work, play, study, health and living conditions of the people of the City of Erie. James Sherrod 312 Chestnut Street / Erie, PA 16507 PH (814) 459-2761

Baymont Inn and Suites

Crawford County Fair

Crawford County Fair is held the third week in August and is one of the largest agricultural fairs in the commonwealth. Anne Hall 903 Diamond Square / Meadville, PA 16335 PH (814) 333-7400

David’s Landscaping and Design

Providing landscaping and hardscaping design and installation services. Our designs, whether foundation plantings, raised beds, outdoor structures, retaining walls, pavers, or a complete landscape installation, will complement your home or office. David Demby 1575 Schramling Road / Corry, PA 16407 PH (814) 833-2600

Expeditors International

Expeditors is a fortune 500 global logistics company. We provide flexible, value added logistics services to meet each customer’s individual business needs. Chris Johnson 333 State Street, Suite 107 / Erie, PA 16507 PH (814) 455-1208 / FX (814) 455-1860

Express Cash Advance Inc.

Short term lender in Northeast Ohio with corporate office in Erie. Brian Scott 1209 Wilkins Road / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 836-1015

Harris Family Daycare

The Harris Family Daycare is a 24 hour, 7 days a week childcare service including holidays. We provide transportation and teach kids age appropriate skills. Elaine Harris 1248 West 11th Street / Erie, PA 16502 PH (814) 459-5081

You’re always welcome!

Independent Pattern Shop

Judy Powell 8170 Perry Highway / Erie, PA 16509 PH (814) 866-8808

Ron Strohmeyer, Jr. 1919 Reed Street / Erie, PA 16503 PH (814) 459-2591 / FX (814) 453-3877


Manufacturing of patterns for the foundry industries.


J & Rays Entertainment

Providing entertainment in the Erie area. Entertainment consisting of comedy shows and sporting events. Rayfes Roberts P.O. Box 11031 / Erie, PA 16507 PH (814) 566-7190

KW Commercial– The James Balliet Commercial Group

Full service commercial real estate company servicing the entire Erie, PA market. Specializing in retail, office, light industrial, medical and investment properties. James Barbour 40 South Cedar Crest Blvd. / Allentown, PA 18140 PH (610) 435-4711

Lampus Hardscape Direct

We sell path pavers, brick, stone, venaer, firepits, fireplaces, wood fire pizza ovens. We have been in business 90 years this year. Darren Poplin 3511 West 12th Street / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 835-4300 / FX (814) 835-7200

Lifelong Photovation

Lifelong Photovation provides a wide-range of customized photo organization products and services. We help you organize, preserve, and showcase the photos you rarely see or may have forgotten about into digital or printed formats, as well as a wide array of photo gifts. Our mission is to help families organize their life’s treasures so they can share their life’s stories. Everyone has a story and every story matters. Lynn Douds 620 Lyme Court / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 833-5871

Lowes Home Center Inc.

Rob Burton 2305 Asbury Road / Erie, PA 16506 PH (814) 833-1023 / FX (814) 835-8006

Panache Salon and Spa

At Panache, you will experience the latest fashion trends in hair design and color, massage, skin care, and fabulous shopping in our exciting boutique, Loia. Jim Ferrell 2501 West 12th Street / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 838-3333 / FX (814) 838-2693


Paychex is a leading provider of payroll, human resources, and benefits outsourcing solutions to small to medium size companies. The company offers payrool, tax pay, 401K plan administrator, health insurance, workers compensation, section 125 plans, time and attendance and other services. Rich Ranus 5440 Mill Street / Erie, PA 16509 PH (814) 395-7070 / FX (777) 264-0580

Senior Helpers of Erie

Home Health Care Agency (non-medical). We provide personal care (Adl’s), companion care, cooking, light housekeeping, transportation, etc. Doug Fugate 2700 West 21st Street / Erie, PA 16506 PH (814) 454-9500 / FX (814) 454-9501

U Pick 6 Public House

Our third location we opened in 2014 on the west side of Erie. The concept for this location was a pub and restaurant that again, focused on great food and beer! The woodburning brick oven and open kitchen is a must see! John Melody 4575 West Ridge Road / Erie, PA 16506 PH (814) 866-2337

United Erie, Division of Interstate Chemical Inc.

A leading manufacturer of the catalysts for the Bio Diesel Industry. We are also a full line manufacturer and supplier of airset/no-bake and cold box sand binders, catalysts, accelerators/ activators, core oils, mold/core washes, and surface coatings for the ferrous and non ferrous metals casting industry. Michael Smith 1432 Chestnut Street / Erie, PA 16502 PH (814) 456-7561 / FX (814) 454-8996


Windstream provides customized data, voice, network, and cloud services, including disaster recovery, managed services, networking and VOIP across North America. Kris Kent 750 Holiday Drive / Pittsburgh, PA 15220 PH (412) 250-8047 / FX (412) 250-0100


As Northwest PA’s largest credit union, we’ll help your business grow with the right loan, affordable payments and a competitive interest rate. SERVICES Commercial Mortgage Loans Equipment Loans

Term Loans

Lines of Credit

Commercial Vehicle Loans

Residential Construction Loans

Property Loans

Loans subject to credit approval. Membership eligibility required.

Nathan Crouch, Commercial Lender

(814) 825-2436 Ext. 1051

Chamver Ad 0214.indd 1

5/9/14 2:13 PM

New ERIE Wear Devon & Jones fleece jacket made with a plush, pill-proof "microfil" fabric. Lightweight, but warm and dry. Quarter-zip front zipper with two side-zip pockets.


Navy, Cadet, Charcoal, Green Leaf, Black and Red


XS-XL....................$36.50 2XL.......................$39.50 3XL and 4XL are also available, call Susan Ronto for pricing (814) 454-7191 x123.

Place your order today by calling us at (814) 454-7191. JUNE/JULY 2014


Keeping Business Loans Local Makes for a Healthy Practice

When Izbicki Family Medicine first looked to open an independent medical practice, Marquette Business Banking provided just what the doctors ordered — an answer to their business plan within a half an hour, and a long-standing commitment ever since.

Drs. Jonathon and Harry Izbicki at Erie’s first, insurance-free medical practice.

Marquette Business Bankers (left to right): Jim Jackson, Sherry Waller, David Slomski, Eugene Cirka, Beverly Schneider, Jon Patsy

The Hometown Bank with with the the Hometown HometownTouch Touch 9 S T A R T I N G O R E X PA N DI N G A B U S I N E S S ? Call 455-4481 in Erie; 337-7929 in Meadville


Organizational Updates CHAMBER by August P. Schiava, Vice President

Beer on the Bay 2014

Beer on the Bay is back again on July 26, 2014. This is the 7th annual event uniquely located on Lake Erie in Liberty Park along Erie’s beautiful bay front. The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and the Erie Brewing Company have established a partnership that serves as the producers of the regional event which draws craft brewers and beer lovers from all over and has a positive economic impact on our community. The festival celebrates the wonderful flavor and quality techniques of beer produced by a microbrewery or craft brewery. The breweries are independently owned and produce a limited quantity of beer. In the United States around 1976 Albion Brewing was founded and quickly became the blueprint for building a small scale commercial brewery. The popularity of these products encouraged the trend to spread quickly. Craft breweries distribute through a wholesaler, others act as their own distributor and sell to retailers and/ or directly to the consumer through a tap room, attached restaurant or off-premise sales.* (Wikipedia)

US Breweries operating as of June 2013*

Brewpubs Microbreweries Regional Craft Breweries Total US Craft Breweries *Source: Brewers Association


1,165 1,221 97 2,483

Craft beer has been described as 10 minutes of pleasure, pure happiness in a glass, authentic, archetypical, an intellectual beverage that is to be savored not swilled and much more! It is a versatile beverage to be enjoyed in moderation that not only enhances food when paired but also is often used in the kitchen as a cooking ingredient.

provided by several area restaurateurs as these tickets are limited. Or just to ensure that you receive the $35.00 General Admission ticket to attend the session you choose. Tickets are $5.00 additional if purchased at the gate. We have also made provision for a designated driver ticket at the flat rate of $20.00 which includes access to the VIP Area.

Our celebration is centered around the Liberty Park Burger King Amphitheatre with two tasting sessions scheduled, noon-3:00pm and 4:00pm-7:00pm. Remember that you must be at least 21 and that everyone must have a photo ID. The local favorite acoustic rock trio, Small Town Rollers, will entertain festival attendees at both sessions. I encourage you to enjoy the special flavors from over 30 craft brewers plus home brewers as well. A variety of food vendors will also be available to enhance the brew. We are proud that a portion of the proceeds from this year’s festival will benefit the A.N.N.A Shelter. New this year, EMTA will provide shuttle service to Liberty Park from two locations, the Intermodal Center at 2nd and Holland, and the 12th and Lincoln Park & Ride.

Remember, when you support your local brewery, you are supporting the community and culture of craft brewing which helps craft brewers provide jobs and support their local economies. Besides providing a fun event for Erie, Beer on the Bay falls in line with the mission of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership as well. Thomas Jefferson said “Beer, if drunk with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”

So don’t wait, purchase your tickets now online at , via phone call 814-454-7191 x123 or in person at the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership Offices in the Intermodal Transportation Center. I would advise you to purchase your tickets now to ensure the $50.00 VIP area access to rare brews, hookah bar and food tastings

Save the Date: Beer on the Bay 2015 is set for July 25th!

Beer on the Bay July 26th


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT by Jake Rouch, Vice President One of my favorite lines from a Dave Matthews song goes, “What I want is what I’ve not got; but what I need is all around me.” In Erie, we all spend a little too much time talking about what we do not have, versus celebrating and enjoying what we do have. Take the subject of this month’s magazine – festivals and fairs. Summertime in Erie is absolutely filled with fairs, festivals, concerts, events, and fireworks. In most cases, the price of entry is simply getting there. But beyond festivals/fairs/events…what else is all around us that we do not fully take advantage of? Off the top of my head I think of Asbury Woods, Winter Green Gorge, the Zoo, Erie Art Museum, Presque Isle State Park, speakers at the local universities, parades, playgrounds, picnic tables, bike paths, Frontier Park, walks along Presque Isle Bay, and so forth. Hopefully, I am preaching to a fully engaged choir of community zealots who take full advantage of all Erie has to offer. There is another asset that we do not fully take advantage of and it is an asset I am very passionate about: the economic development system serving Erie County and northwest, PA.

of getting assistance is taking the time – and making the effort – to ask for help. I can assure you that helping you meet your needs is not only our mission, but what brings us satisfaction. The recently completed study by the Innovation Collaborative confirmed this. One of the primary findings was that we need to build a better culture of entrepreneurship in Erie. One way to do that is to make sure that individuals who want to start businesses get connected to individuals and organizations who can help them. Their study identified a robust set of “tools” available in the region to help new entrepreneurs. The key is making connections between new entrepreneurs and our robust set of tools. And that starts when we all make an effort to realize and understand what is all around us that can help these entrepreneurs get started. The great management consultant, Peter Drucker, said, “Erroneous assumptions can be disastrous.” Just because you do not see it does not mean that it doesn’t exist in Erie. I believe that if you start assuming that Erie has what you want, and you take action and reach out and ask, you are far more likely to see that what you need is all around you.

For more information on our business services, contact Doug Massey, Manager of the Business Action Team, at (814) 454-71941 x142 or



ERIE DOWNTOWN GIFT CERTIFICATES accepted at MORE THAN 45 LOCATIONS Order yours today at (814)455-ERIE

While the economic development system continually works to market better and improve its referral system, I’m confident that if you take the time to simply call and tell us what you need, we can get you connected to a solution. So the price



CRAWFORD COUNTY FAIR 903 Diamond Square, Meadville, PA 16335 Phone: (814) 333-7400 Fax (814) 337-0457

ERIE Entrepreneurship Fair Style Contributed by Anne Hall On August 16-23, 2014 the 69th Crawford County Fair will be held on 67 acres in West Mead Township, Meadville, PA. Long known as an agricultural fair, it is treated as a business in order to remain successful year after year. The success of today’s 4-H and FFA young people is critical to agriculture in the future. And agriculture is Crawford County largest industry. Running a Fair, the Fair Board will tell you, is no easy task. Contracts for the tractor pulls, rodeo, demo-derby and major country acts have to be obtained and approved. Schedules for department judging and classes have to be coordinated. Supplies need to be ordered – tickets, entry blanks, wrist bands, ribbons & trophies, etc. There are 50 department heads, plus helpers, for a total of over 250 people who volunteer their time to make this Fair a success. Each department head is responsible to make sure that their department rules are correct and up-todate so the Fair Premium Book is accurate. In addition, we have 190 paid employees which include gate and grandstand ticket sellers, stage help, parkers, maintenance, security and office help. Can you imagine setting and packing up 5,000 chairs on the track twice during the week for one of our two concerts?


“There are 50 department heads, plus helpers, for a total of over 250 people who volunteer their time to make this Fair a success. ” There are thousands of entries to be entered in the computer – 3,700 in livestock entries alone. As well entries in baked goods, canning, flowers, hay & grain, quilts, afghans and other needlework, photographs, arts & crafts and many other displays. Around 2,000 premium checks are written totaling over $65,000 to be distributed the last day of the Fair. This keeps our computer entry staff very busy, both before and during the Fair. In addition, other staff pay out judges, tractor pull and horse pull premiums, harness racing purse, stage lights & sound, and the general public address and, of course, the entertainers which totals over $600,000.

Each year the Fair Board, through gate fees and grandstand fees, puts $150,000 to $200,000 into capital improvements in the grounds and buildings on the fairgrounds. It takes a lot of dedicated Board members to work together to continue to make such improvements. The Board meets monthly to discuss what the needs are, and what the budget will allow for the year, or what needs to be scheduled for the next year. Through hard work, cooperation and a lot of help from the many volunteers, we can continue to have a great Crawford County Fair

“Each year the Fair Board, through gate fees and grandstand fees, puts $150,000 to $200,000 into capital improvements in the grounds and buildings on the fairgrounds.” Contact Anne Hall for questions (814) 333-7400 or


BRING YOUR CONFERENCE TO ERIE Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership 2014 Signature Events


FREE Convention Services: • Hotel Proposal Gathering • Site Visit Coordination


• Media Release Distribution • Promotional Materials

Annual Golf Outing *RESCHEDULED*

Wed, August 13, 2014 Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa


Fall Member Fest

Thurs, September 25, 2014 Shades Beach

• VIP Gift Baskets • Name Badges CALL US FIRST!

Joe Holody

Director of Convention Marketing, Sales & Services

814.454.1000 x 126 VisitErie major sponsors:


Annual Meeting

Thurs, November 6, 2014 Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel & Conference Center

Sponsorships available; contact Brett Wiler at for details!


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership


Spring Class 2014 This Spring, the Erie Ambassadors welcomed 32 new alumni to the 500+ individuals who have gone through our program and learned a bit more about the area which they live, work, and play. We asked them to share some of their favorite moments and thoughts from their sessions that concluded late May: “I had two favorite sessions, which were the Erie Insurance Arena and the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Erie. I thought it was really fun to get a tour of the arena with all the new updates before the sports seasons started. The Presque Isle Tour was great because we got to take a boat across the bay with Ray Schreckengost from the Erie-Western PA Port Authority and the weather was beautiful!” “One item that I’m certain all of my colleagues in the EA program and I learned was that Erie has one of the best water procurement and filtration systems in the United States. There’s a ton of great things going on in Erie and we have a rich history to enjoy. We need more people to participate in this program to learn what they’re missing out on in town! “ Jeffrey Clorley, Crime Victim Center of Erie County JUNE/JULY 2014

The Erie Ambassadors program gave me a behind-the-scenes look at some of our community’s top organizations and resources. I’ve lived in the Erie region my entire life and walked away from each of our outings with a wealth of new knowledge and the inside scoop on future plans for our great community. We also had the special privilege of touring places such as the U.S. Coast Guard Station and the Erie Water Works plant, which are typically not accessible to the public. What was most impressive to me was the top executives from each organization took the time out of their schedules to meet with our class, give a full presentation, conduct a tour and answer any questions we had. I highly recommend this wonderful program to everyone! Stephenie A. DiLuzio, Administrative Assistant for Advancement, Barber National Institute


“I haven’t lived in Erie since my GU (Gannon University) days, so the Erie Ambassador program has been a fun, social way to re-discover my college stomping ground.” “There are so many hidden gems in Erie that I never would have discovered if it hadn’t been for Erie Ambassadors. My favorite was our first stop, BLOOM Collaborative, and since then, I go quite often and bring others!” Carlo Fuda “I moved to Erie in 2005 to attend Gannon University and fell in love with the community, so I stayed after graduation. Despite living here for nine years, I was surprised to discover how much I didn’t know about the area. You pick up little tidbits along the way, but having comprehensive presentations on some of the major areas that make Erie “tick” is an experience I consider to be invaluable. I’ve learned so much throughout the program and have made some great friendships as well. Not only is it a great way to learn more about the Erie area, it’s a fabulous networking opportunity. I’ve met people from a huge variety of different backgrounds and areas of expertise and I intend to continue growing those relationships far beyond the conclusion of the program. Thanks to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership for establishing such a wonderful program! Amanda Flick, Business Consultant, Gannon University Small Business Development Center “Karl and I found the training for the Erie Ambassadors very enlightening. All of the trainers for the scheduled sessions were knowledgeable with tons of information about their facility and the intricate part it plays in rounding out the region. The classes to date were very enjoyable and we learned many exciting things. It is difficult to choose one session above the other because they all play a part of our growing community.” Ginny Kelm “My favorite part about the Erie Ambassador program was the session on tourism. It was inspiring to hear about all the ways Scott Enterprises is investing in the region. It was also interesting to learn about the company’s many business investments over the years. I also enjoyed the VisitErie presentation and learning about the Hello Erie app for smartphones.” Ann Silverthorn, Blogger /Writer Anna has blogged about her experiences during the spring sessions. Take a look here: “The Erie Ambassador program was an eye opening experience.

I’ve lived here for most of my life and was amazed to find out how much Erie had going on that I never knew existed. It was not only informative but also really fun to be given the opportunity to have hands on experiences with parts of Erie that most people never get to see. I will be finishing the Ambassador program with a new respect for the city that I call home and am excited to share my knowledge with others who, like myself, may be unaware of all that Erie has to offer!” Kelsey Kope, Arvite Technologies, Inc. “The Erie Ambassador Program has been an enlightening experience for me. It was great learning about the gems of our community. Environmental concerns relating to recycling and conservation were brought to light as we learned about one answer in the manufacturing capabilities of Erie’s own biodiesel plant, HERO BX. From gaining an understanding of how Erie Water Works purifies water; to hearing the history of Downtown Development; to sharing visions for the Bayfront; to learning about the creative arts. It has been a fun and educational journey.” Elaine Shaffer “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore Erie through the back door of local enterprise. There is something for everyone! I am proud to say I live and work in Erie and I hope that our community embraces the gifts in our own hometown. Erie has the potential to shine even brighter with the continued efforts of those willing to invest in our future and a community to support them.” Gina Lesoski RN BSN, Shriners Hospitals for Children “The Chamber’s Erie Ambassador Program opened my eyes to all that Erie has to offer and more. I am excited to have learned more about the history of Erie, the Erie of today, and the future of Erie, so that I can better promote this great city.” Peggy Schneider “Having been born and raised in Erie, I thought I already knew everything about this city. Boy was I wrong! There is so much more to Erie than I ever gave credit, and I’m so glad that I took this class. Erie Ambassadors has really opened my eyes to appreciate my city even more.” Jeff Evans, Northwest Insurance Services, President, Young Erie Professionals We are accepting applications for our Fall 2014 Erie Ambassador Sessions. Email Cathy Noble, at cnoble@eriepa. com, to get on board. Visit erie-ambassadors/, for more information.



Regional Initiative Updates DESTINATION ERIE: A REGIONAL VISION Stop Imagining & Make it Happen! by Ben Pratt, Executive Director, Growth Partnership Division & Project Coordinator, Destination Erie

What an exciting time to live in the Greater Erie Region. If we look back over the past 5 months members of our community and the community at large have accomplished great things. The announcement of The Porreco College of Edinboro University - “The Community’s College”, Penn State Behrend DevelopErie began construction of the $16.5 million Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center; the completion of the Northwest Pennsylvania’s Entrepreneurial Market Assessment an Recommendations by Jumpstart and the Innovation Collaborative and so much more! This is just the beginning. Over the last 8 months Destination Erie has been working with community stakeholders, public officials, and consultant teams to develop additional projects that will address our Key Regional Issues, and make a more sustainable region to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st Century. To date Destination Erie with the help of over 3,000 citizens of the last two years, have identified over 75 projects!


If there was one critical moment in the Destination Erie Regional Plan for Sustainable Development project it would be right now! Citizens of Erie County are creating a road map for the future and we need your voice in this process. How will we create the thriving and connected region that we envision for our future? How will we provide the education that our children deserve? How will we ensure that the natural environment of our communities is preserved for generations to come? How will we build livable neighborhoods that welcome and support our families? It is time to stop imagining what we want our community to become, and make it happen! Your Projects, Your Community, Our Region.

Visit for more information.


ERIE VITAL SIGNS Monitoring Trends by Erin Doolin Fessler, Vice President of Communications The Erie Community Foundation

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” After the Bosworth Report recognized that Erie was operating in a fragmented manner without a sense of purpose and real leadership, The Erie Community Foundation reached out to civic partners including Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, Erie Together, The Nonprofit Partnership and United Way of Erie County to create Erie Vital Signs. Erie Vital Signs is built on a simple premise: community decision making must be based on accurate, objective information; including a consideration of information from peer communities. Without that, decisions can be driven by uninformed opinion and without consideration of national best practices. It takes time and effort to gather, sift and evaluate the mountains of data available, and that’s where Erie Vital Signs comes into play. By providing reliable

information about Erie County in eight topical areas - Cultural Vitality, Civic & Community Engagement, Education, Economy, Brain Gain, Health, Environment and Regional Cooperation – Erie County now has an effective tool that can raise the level of community discourse, help inform decision making and measure community progress. Erie Vital Signs is of little value unless public leaders, decision makers and civic minded community members access and incorporate Erie Vital Signs into daily conversations and decision making. Luckily, trend data suggests Erie Vital Signs is becoming an increasingly important community resource. Website data tracked by Google Analytics over the last twelve months documents growth in the number of site visits and page views as well as an encouraging threefold increase in the length of time spent on the Erie Vital Signs website.

receive email updates and alerts when new data is available. Individuals and organizations seeking funding from The Erie Community Foundation are also asked to identify how their project will impact Erie Vital signs key indicators when completing their grant proposals. Major support for Erie Vital Signs is provided by The Erie Community Foundation. Additional 2014 sponsors including Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Erie Insurance, General Electric, Northwest Savings Bank and PNC Bank.

At you can learn more about community issues and trends. You can also register to




Where People Meet to Eat Erie’s ethnic festivals preserve timeless traditions while they change with the times by John Chacona

It’s said that the ancient Greeks provided the template for modern Western civilization. In much the same way, their modern ancestors “invented” the ethnic festivals that enliven Erie summers. To be sure, ethnic and church festivals have been a part of our local landscape since immigrants first arrived, but these tended to be “among us” affairs, celebrations transplanted from the Old Country to the new. Assimilation and suburbanization diluted the sense of ethnic identification and largely emptied the old ethnic neighborhoods. And then the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church on the 200 block of West 8th Street burned. “The Greeks were the first. They were a success, now everybody wanted it.” That’s Ray Lunieski and he should know. Lunieski has been running what he called “outdoor events” for decades. His

experience led him to become the organizer of the annual Erie German Heritage Festival on Labor Day weekend. This year, with his wife, Edie, he will also chair the Zabawa Polish Heritage Festival that runs one week earlier.

“It always surprises me the amount of people we get for food, food, live music and food.” Food and beer will be an essential part of both events, but Lunieski is quick to point out the German Festival’s unique appeal. “It’s the outdoorsy atmosphere at St. Nick’s Grove,” he says. “It’s set in the woods, and it’s almost like Germany.” The outdoor setting also gives the German Festival a unique opportunity to pay attention to a category of festival-goer that urban festivals often ignore: children. An outdoor


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

petting zoo, bounce house and trackless train, gives kids their own festival-within a festival.

course I was a young kid . . .” he says, his voice following a trail of memory.

Older patrons, too, will have an area to escape to. Called the These days, DiVecchio, the Festival’s longtime chairman, Viennese Café, it’s set in a quiet, newly renovated pavilion manages what has become a very large undertaking. “It’s a where coffee and desserts will be served far from the bustle big production now. It takes longer to get ready. It’s a yearand oom-pah music of the huge main tent. long thing, and we never stop.” Lunieski thinks the older patrons say something important This year, in addition to the popular food items, including about all the ethnic festivals. “The old people, they come back the pasta é fagioli soup made according to the beloved and soak in it because they don’t see it anymore,” he says. “The recipe used at Hector’s Restaurant, the festival will be language is disappearing, the food, the people. Soon, people raffling off a car. “An Italian car for the first time, believe it won’t know the tunes, or how to make the food.” or not,” DiVecchio chirped. “It’s a 2014 Fiat, white red and green with all Italian decals.” To a great extent, all the ethnic festivals in town follow the template of Panegyri, more commonly known as the Greek Festival at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. While the event is a highlight of the summer and a huge financial engine for Erie’s small Greek community, its origins were not exalted. Connie Knecht, Zabawa’s co-chair for publicity and advertising, agrees. “The ethnic festivals are very generational,” she says. “The idea was floated 26 years ago to do what other Greek “You’ll see great grandparents in a wheelchair being pushed communities do, which is a food festival. We were building by a kid. People will tell you, ‘My mother went to school here the new church on West Lake Road, and we were looking for at Holy Trinity,’ or ‘My aunt lived in the neighborhood and a way to raise money,” said Michael Geanous, co-chairman when I went to her house, I ate chrusciki [sugar-dusted fried of the event. “When we started, it was one tent on West Lake Road. Basically a parking lot and an unfinished church, dough].’ That’s brings them back.” and it was completely overwhelming for the people who Music plays a larger role at Zabawa than it does at other organized it,” he said. festivals. Over the three days, August 22-25, festivalgoers will hear nationally known polka bands on the stage on East It’s still overwhelming in a way. Consider the numbers: Sallie 23rd Street. But polka music will be heard inside Holy Trinity Capotis, who stepped down as chair last year, said that the Church, too, in the popular polka Masses that are a unique three-day festival feeds 40,000 people. Sales include 10,000 part of Zabawa. pieces of honey-drenched baklava pastry, more than 1,000 lamb shanks and savory gyros selling at a rate of 14-20 a “In the U.S. and in Poland, faith is an important thing, so we minute at peak times. have masses on Saturday evening and Sunday morning,” Knecht says. “Mass is said in English, but the music is in a polka style. Faith food and fun There’s nothing pretentious about it. It’s authentic, it’s real and it’s a fun time for everybody. Where else can you dance the polka in the middle of 23rd Street?” Geanous, an easygoing engineer at Steris Corporation, still marvels at the success of Panegyri, a festival that The west-side analogue of Zabawa is St. Paul’s Italian features no rides and relatively few giveaways. “It always Festival, August 8-10. Though the Festival is a relatively surprises me the amount of people we get for food, food, recent invention, it has roots in earlier church festivals that live music and food.” celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. Those events, which closely mirrored ancient celebrations in Italy, are It’s a formula that he’s not eager to change. “It’s been pretty fondly remembered by Ron DiVecchio. much the same for 26 years, and most of the process will be the same, too: same band, same food, same environment. If “It was just after the war. I was in grade school. Almost you had fun last year, you’ll have fun this year.” every church had them then. There’s a lot more to do at the festivals now than there used to be, it seems to me. Of

“The old people, they come back and soak in it because they don’t see it anymore.”

“Where else can you dance the polka in the middle of 23rd Street?”



Erie County youth need your support.

Want to help a kid ‘turn a corner’ this summer? Do you have an event, activity or opportunity that would be a fun learning experience? Could you use some summer help?

It’s all about Summer JAM Erie 2014! Summer Jam Erie (Jobs and More)is an initiative designed to help

low income youth find summer employment along with the opportunity to participate in various recreational, educational and enrichment activities.

Visit and learn what you can do to make a difference in our community.



Meet the

County Fair Funnel cakes, farm animals and the people who make it all happen by Mary Birdsong

Swirling lights from the midway dance in the distance, the smell of kettle corn permeates the air, the roar of the tractor pull assaults your ears, the ice cream is cool on your tongue. No doubt, this is a county fair. For some of us, the county fair is a leisurely stroll, maybe a couple of rides, some time in the animal barns or admiring the quilts. It’s a day off; time to kick back and indulge in a sweet, gooey concoction. For others though, “fair week” carries a lot more weight. For the dedicated assemblage of community members who organize the fair—the fair board, as they are known— the on-time cattle judging, a successful vegetable exhibition and a full display of farm equipment in the vendor area are the happy culmination of a year’s worth of hard work. HISTORY Whether we go for the funnel cakes, queen pageant competitions or antique tractors, at the very core of every fair is the promotion of agriculture. All fairs began as events where farmers in agricultural areas

could showcase their animals, grains, produce, handmade products and skills. And today, it is still the place for people to showcase the animals they have raised, compete in horse events or submit a tasty apple pie in hopes of taking home a blue ribbon. The deep roots of our regional agricultural fairs reach back into the nineteenth century. The oldest fair in the region is the Wattburg/Erie County Fair, which will be celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. It began in 1883 when 37 farmers gathered with 30 oxen to level the racing track on the land that would become the fairgrounds. Other area fairs are right behind. The Waterford Community Fair is 77 this year, the Albion fair is 70 and the Crawford County Fair is right behind, celebrating its 69th anniversary. Their legacies reach back farther than that, though. Each evolved from farmers’ field days, animal competitions or picnics that eventually came together as one larger event.


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

“Whether we go for the funnel cakes, queen pageant competitions or antique tractors, at the very core of every fair is the promotion of agriculture.” To go from a single track or building takes time. Many fairs started in town squares or sports fields with temporary structures and tents to house the exhibits. As the events grew and property was acquired, permanent structures were built and amenities added. “The first building erected at the Erie County Fair was the dining hall in 1886. The home building which still stands today, was built in 1929,” says Junior Hartner, board president. Up until 1971, when 52 acres south of Waterford was purchased, the Waterford fair was held in the ball diamond downtown, with the home exhibits quartered in the high school gym. “Once we had the property, a home show building and a dairy barn was added and today we have 15 permanent buildings,” says Mike Jenkins, board president. OLD & NEW All the fairs tout the involvement of youth groups such as 4-H, FFA (Future Farmers of America) and other school organizations as teaching children the importance of hard work and building solid values. And even though they all


have common activities like tractor pulls and vegetable displays, each regional fair has its own character and traditions that people love. The Albion Area Fair features the town’s lovingly restored carousel, organizers of the Waterford Community Fair say that their vegetable displays are the most numerous and best in the region, Crawford has big-name entertainment and Erie County organizers boast of great rides and food. Other traditions have nothing to do with attractions at all. According to a history of the Wattsburg/Erie County fair, written by Arthur C. Harwood in 1984, William W. Harwood was elected the first secretary of the fair in 1883. From then until the present day, a member of the Harwood family has been a member of the board of directors.

When asked when they start planning in Albion, Randy Hite said with a laugh, “at midnight on the last night of the previous year’s fair.” Of course they try to keep things fresh, too, with new events and attractions added each year to appeal to the crowd. “The Waterford fair is adding mini-horse pulls this year, so more children can compete,” says Mike Jenkins, president of the Waterford Community Fair. Wattsburg/ Erie County fair is bringing in the Black Cat Hell Drivers


Stunt Show to fill the grandstand with thrill seekers and Albion is planning a special 70th Anniversary display being arranged by a special committee devoted to the task. BEHIND THE SCENES Fair organizers don’t take their task lightly. Putting together a fair takes work, money and, most importantly, dedicated volunteers. All regional fairs have boards of directors that range from nine to 17 members who oversee every detail of the fair. Behind them are hundreds of volunteers who do the work for individual committees or exhibit areas, from stringing the lights at the fairgrounds and supervising cattle barns to making sure the insurance is up to date and pictures are taken.

“According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs, to which all local fairs belong, 110 county fairs in 62 Pennsylvania counties had an economic impact to the state of approximately $126 million in the years 2007 through 2011.” At least 100 volunteers are active each day of the Erie County fair, according to Junior Hartner, board president. Albion has 50 distinct committees and more than 350 volunteers according to Randy Hite, board vice president. The Crawford County Fair stands alone in having 200 paid employees who work during fair week, along with more than 250 volunteers. For board members and committee chairpersons, it is nearly a year-round planning process. “In Waterford, we start planning next year’s fair the day after this year’s is over,” says Mike Jenkins. Other fairs keep the same schedule, mostly. According to Junior Hartner, the Erie County Fair board president, they have a recap meeting

in the fall and then start meeting in December for the next year, with more meetings as the dates of the fair get closer. When asked when they start planning in Albion, Randy Hite said with a laugh, “at midnight on the last night of the previous year’s fair.” LOCAL MONEY Local organizations and vendors also play a part in making the fair happen. From volunteer fire companies that stand ready in the case of an emergency to local contractors who volunteer with infrastructure, fairs truly bring the community together. And they utilize the fair as vendors to boost their own coffers, as well, keeping money in the community. Anne Hall, executive secretary of the Crawford fair, says that approximately 300 commercial or non-profit vendors are involved each year and the other fairs see comparable numbers. Waterford hosts 100, Wattsburg/Erie 25 and Albion 250. Interestingly, Randy Hite remarks that “most are from Erie and Crawford county and Pennsylvania. The 20 to 30 from out of state come from Ohio, New York and Florida but most of them are native to this area or have family roots here.” The economic influx generated by these vendors and the fairs themselves mean a lot to every community and the numbers are surprising. According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs, to which all local fairs belong, 110 county fairs in 62 Pennsylvania counties had an economic impact to the state of approximately $126 million in the years 2007 through 2011. This includes taxes paid by the fair bodies, capital and operating expenditures, tourist dollars generated, and indirect spending by suppliers. Not only do the counties where the fairs take place benefit, the whole state does. The study goes on to say “over 92% of fair operating expenditures and more than 93% of capital expenditures are made in Pennsylvania.” That means that when you are downing your annual corn dog, staring in awe at a very large combine or skritching the nose of a very cute bunny, you are not only helping to maintain the long tradition of community fairs, you are doing your part to boost the local, county and state economies. That’s pretty sweet.



4 1 20 &

s r i Fa vals i t s Fe



Panegyri Greek Festival Greek Orthodox Church, West Lake Road

North East Fireman’s Cherry Festival

31 N Lake St, North East

Roar on the Shore

Downtown Erie, Perry Square

Beer on the Bay

Burger King Amphitheater, Liberty Park

FAIRS & FESTIVALS Celebrate Erie

Downtown Erie, State Street


Holy Trinity Parish Grounds East 23rd & Reed Streets

Erie County Fair

Wattsburg Fair Grounds

German Heritage Festival St. Nick’s Grove

Discover Presque Isle Days


Dan Rice Days

Albion Area Fair

Presque Isle State Park, Peninsula Girard Borough

Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival Frontier Park

St. Paul’s Annual Italian Festival

St. Paul’s Church, 1617 Walnut St.

Crawford County Fair

903 Diamond Park Square Meadville, PA

Waterford Community Fair Waterford Fairgrounds

9 Academy St., Albion, PA 16401

Erie Irish Festival

St. Patrick’s Church

Wine Country Harvest Festival

North East, PA

Big Brew Festivus Rainbow Gardens

Fall Fest Peek ‘N Peak

2 weekends

Eerie Horror Film Festival

Warner Theater


Wine on the Lake

Bayfront Convention Center

Asbury Woods Maple Festival

Asbury Woods Nature Center

Erie Micro Brew Festival

The Brewerie at Union Station

Flagship City International Film Festival Bayfront Convention Center

Edinboro Art and Music Festival

Downtown Edinboro

Troika Russian Festival

Church of the Nativity

Great Lakes Beach Glass & Coastal Arts Festival Bayfront Convention Center

Erie’s Wild Rib Cook Off & Music Festival Perry Square


Saint Mary’s residents and staff 1894.


Caring across the Centuries

125 years

n September 21, 1884, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania opened the doors to Saint Mary’s Home of Erie for fifteen aged people who were previously residing at St. Vincent Hospital. They were meeting the needs of the people and the era in the Erie community. By 2001, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie was comprised of two campuses that served the community – Saint Mary’s East and Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge. It is operated in the Catholic tradition, as a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Saint Mary’s continues to grow in order to meet community needs. The Asbury Ridge campus started expanding to offer 26 independent living homes known as The Carriage Homes at Asbury Ridge in 2007. Saint Mary’s East completed a $21 million addition and renovation Barabas, left, is visiting with Sister project that enhanced the campus to feature all private nursing rooms with attached European Margaret Phyllis McCracken, SSJ, center, and Dexter, right, showers along with countless additional amenities in 2010. in one of the courtyards at Saint Mary’s East. Dexter is a therapy dog and companion for the

Saint Mary’s services include adult day services, independent living, residential living, personal residents at Saint Mary’s East. care, skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s care, respite care as well as speech, occupational and physical therapies. In 2013, Saint Mary’s continued the growth of available services with the announcement of respiratory therapy, palliative care and home care. “Our Mission is ‘Loving to Care’ and ‘fostering an atmosphere of community in a faith-based atmosphere,’ explained Sister Phyllis McCracken, President/CEO. She continued, “Our Vision is ‘to be a principle enabler to primarily seniors in the Erie community, aiding them in living their lives in a respectable, dignified and fulfilled manner.’ This Mission and Vision will move us forward as we continue to meet the needs of seniors in our community.” The Mission of Saint Mary’s also extends beyond serving seniors. The Administration and the Board of Trustees continue the tradition of employee education, volunteerism and being good stewards in the local community.

Celebrating our 130th Anniversary



August 16th - August 23rd Business After Hours is a members only networking event of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. Contact Cathy at (814) 454-7191 x146 or for more info.

TICKETS ONSALE NOW with Special Guests

Dan+Shay & Sam Hunt


June 19, 5:00 – 7:00 PM FMC Technologies 1602 Wagner Ave., Erie, PA 16514

with Special Guests

Frankie Ballard


July 17, 5:00 – 7:00 PM WICU TV 3514 State St., Erie, PA 16508

Free Concert With Admission Ticket

Aug 19th Fair Admission - Only $8

August 21, 5:00 – 7:00 PM Habibi Mediterranean Cuisine 127 West 14th St., Erie, PA 16501

Free Activities included with your daily admission: Circus • Free Concert • Exhibit buildings Crafts • Animals • Rides • Antique Tractor Show Car Show • Harness Racing & More

For Tickets & Fair Info Visit


Recent Ribbon Cuttings

Panera Bread, Buffalo Road Location

AcousticSheep, LLC

Home2 Suites by Hilton

Lampus Hardscape Direct




when you become a Checking customer* Online Banking & Bill Pay • Mobile Banking access** 55,000 ATMs*** • Visa Check Card with GO! Rewards Minimum balance requirements • Monthly service charges Check Card transaction requirements

Interested in placing an ad in the upcoming publication? Contact Brett Wiler at today for details!




208 East Bayfront Parkway Suite 100 Erie, PA 16507

PERMIT # 298 Erie PA