The 2000 Brookline Autumn
The Autumn Moon Festival was a Brookline event for two seasons, in September 1999 and 2000. The South Pittsburgh Development Corporation, along with the Chamber of Commerce, administered the fall classic. The weekend event featured a variety of events, good food, and a great chance to get out and enjoy a day with friends and neighbors.
The 2000 festival, held September 8-9-10, began with an Oldies Dance Friday evening at the International Banquet Hall. DJ Joey Lewis kept the crowd dancing to the sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Many interesting personalities were on hand and the only negative comment yielded was that the lights were turned off too soon. Everyone had a great time.
With Brookline Boulevard capped from Stebbins Ave to Flatbush and fine weather from above, Saturday's activities featured crafts, games, prizes, roaming artists, ethnic dancing, live music and lots of good food.
Opening ceremonies kicked off at 11:00am and the assembled crowd saw a distinguished lineup of "Brookline Stars," hosted by our one and only District Justice Charles McLaughlin.
The speakers included Olympic Gold Medalist and Cleveland Rockers WNBA star Suzy McConnell-Serio, National Wheel-Chair Weightlifting champion Patsy Mitchell, Pirate great Bobby Del Greco, retired traffic policeman Vince Cianca, Jazz pianist Bobby Negri, DJ Tony Mowod, Senator Jack Wagner, Mayor Tom Murphy, County Councilman Wayne Fontana, Retired Police Chief Theresa Rocco and City Councilman Michael Diven.
Suzy spoke of her days growing up and training on the streets of Brookline and the encouragement she received from her neighbors and friends. Patsy talked of the trials she has overcome with her disability and the support she received from her home town during her rise to the weight-lifting title. Senator Wagner urged Brookliner's to work together and strive to keep Brookline's business district, the "heart of our community", strong.
Mayor Murphy discussed the city's ongoing commitment to improving the Brookline area, including a $5.2 million plan to resurface Brookline Boulevard. Councilman Diven spoke of growing up in Brookline and the tight-knit community spirit that makes it such a special place.
And then there was Vince, the nationally renowned traffic policeman who dazzled crowds with his colorful direction of motorists in downtown Pittsburgh. There may never again be so artful a character as Officer Cianca, and the sight of him in his old uniform and white gloves conjured up a flood of amusing and delightful images from Sixth and Smithfield.
Also seated amongst the distinguished guests was Brookline's jeweler and elder statesman Jim Mongelli, long-time owner of Brookline Jewelry. Mr. Mongelli was presented with a framed recognition award by Mayor Murphy and the Brookline Chamber of Commerce for his half-century of service to the community.
The 2000 Autumn Moon Festival distinguished guests and volunteers.
After the opening ceremonies had completed, the stage was prepared for the live entertainment, showcasing bands like The Stickers, The Classiques and local rockers Doc Roc and the Interns, featuring Brookline's own Mark and Jake Zucco.
There were also choral groups, dance troops and a high school band over the course of the two-day show. A walking magician, a juggler, spin art, face painters, and a giant air-bag (moonwalk) were on hand to keep the kids adrenaline flowing. A dunking booth was erected Sunday and attracted a lot of attention.
Sunday's lineup was highlighted by the classic car exhibition. The boulevard was lined with vintage cars from the past several decades. It was quite a scene, and many oldtimers must have felt a twinge of reminiscence as every model must have been a common site on Brookline Boulevard at one time or another over the long history of our community.
Prior to the festival, local schools (West Liberty Academy, Pioneer Education Center, Seton Center and Brookline Elementary) were asked to participate in the first ever "Autumn Moon Festival" poster contest. There were over 100 entries in three categories (grades 0-2, 3-5, 6-8).
The winners were:
More Photos from the 2000 Festival
* Photos provided by Jan Beiler and Clint Burton *
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