Etna Carnival delivers old-fashioned fun

Monday, July 1, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Crowds of all ages filled Daugherty Veteran’s Field on June 24 through 29 for the annual Etna Carnival.

The fair featured a carousel, swings, child’s rollercoaster and ball pit. The “round up” and “tornado,” commonly known as a “tilt-a-whirl,” had the longest lines. Etna Manager Mary Ellen Ramage said that the Ferris wheel was a new addition.

Etna resident Shayla Ziebart, 13, said the new ride was her favorite, while her sister, Alayna, 6, liked the bounce house, carousel and cars traveling in a circle. They were waiting in line for the giant slide, which Alayna had already gone down four times.

Jen Morgano had spent three hours at the carnival with daughters Lily, 6, and Jayonna, 9. Morgano held Lily as they waited for Jayonna to finish the tornado. Morgano said in disbelief that Lily, who did not meet the minimum height requirements for many of the rides, loved the round up.

Traditional games filled the midway. Sam Culanow, 15, of Etna won a “Dora the Explorer” poster from a dart-throwing game.

Michael Jabaut, 17, of Shaler was excited to take home a knife for winning a ring-toss game.

“I worked all day, so I just wanted like a break and it was a nice night out, so I wanted to come to the fair. I hadn’t been all week,” Sarah Durish, 18, said. She invited Jabaut, who had been inside all day.

Etna businesses Porky’s Bar & Grill and Cop Out Pierogies served customers near Fugh Memorial Social Hall on differing nights.

Chad Jockel said that he and co-owner Nick Weiss had “seen a lot of new faces” at the ”great event.”

Allie Zeh, Sara Braun and Melanie Ciarallo ate fried Oreos they purchased from a midway stand.

“They’re worth the $6,” Zeh, of Fox Chapel said of the dessert.

“We’re just walking around people watching and eating,” Ciarallo of the Southside said.

Zeh and Braun, who live in Millvale, have attended the festival together since they were in middle school and both lived in the area.

The Etna Economic Development Corp. (EEDC) took over sponsorship of the carnival when the Etna Volunteer Fire Department relinquished control of its operations three years ago. Along with a community tradition, it is now an EEDC fundraiser, having raised a little more than $10,000 last year, according to Ramage.

“It’s a great fundraiser for the EEDC and the money they earn. They turn it all back over. I really like to see it. It’s like a circle,” she said, noting that the organization offers a Façade Grant Program with matching funds for qualified business owners, provides holiday books to children attending the borough’s annual Etna Light the Night and sponsors the annual Etna Street Skate.

Ramage said the EEDC had so many people interested in volunteering to sell attraction tickets and food that leaders asked them to return on the weekend when they anticipate larger crowds. Etna Neighborhood Association volunteers led bingo in Fugh Hall.

“Every group is doing something that helps enrich the community,” she said.