Saturday, July 10, 2010

Independence Day Parade (western PA)

Dunwoody's not the only town that moved its parade from the 4th.  Some cities put on their Independence Day event on Saturday July 3rd.  Ford City Pennsylvania is about 35 miles up-river from Pittsburgh, PA.  The Allegheny River flows through the edge of town.  Once a proud industrial city (Eljer made a lot of the toilets, tubs, and sinks here in the 1900's and Pittsburgh Plate and Glass had a huge factory here).

Today the place is not much of what it used to be.  Jobs and factories are gone.  But the retirees are still there, and so are some of their offspring.  The area is pretty much what you'd expect a rust-belt town to look like.  Much like Ford City, Johnstown, PA is a western PA city, beaten down by the flight of the Industrial Age. Known for a few floods and steel mills (and the late John P Murtha).

One good thing about going up to western PA - the diversity of foods.  I'm not talking about Mellow Mushroom and Tilted Kilt; I'm talking about Pigs in the Blanket, Haluski (email me for my recipe), Gobs, Perogies, PotPie, NutRolls, chipped ham, etc.  The Cambria City Ethnic Festival is a time and place where you can eat all the things mentioned above.  You won't find a $5 tomato.

These foods are from recipes from the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Recipes from the Polish, the Irish, Italian, German, and Slovenian.  Go to picnics and festivals and you'll always find these regional foods.  Passed down through the years, you'll find variations from family to family, but it's all good. If you can get hold of an old recipe book from one of the churches in the area, you'd have a treasure. A good read is the story of the Johnstown Flood, written by David McCullough.

Not sure how I went from July 4th Parade to Haluski, but back to the parade.  I missed the Dunwoody version but did sit through the Ford City parade.

The western PA parade had more fire trucks (the are is covered with dozens of volunteer fire departments), more tractors, more student musical bands, less political entries, no neighborhood swim and tennis club entries (I don't think there is a swim/tennis neighborhood within 35 miles of where I was), and it had horses.

And, a few video clips of the parade: