The Brookline Junefests (1982-1986)

Picture of
 the crowd at Junefest I.
A crowd estimated at 10,000 attended the first Junefest in 1982. A rainy
afternoon did not hamper the community faithful, who enjoyed the many
activities and events offered, including the opening of the new pool.

The Junefest was a yearly event in Brookline from 1982-1986. The carnival featured games, food, entertainment, and rides. The fest was held at Brookline Memorial Park and sponsored by the Brookline Community Council.

Elva McGibbeny dubs Brookline
Pittsburgh's Community of Champions!

Take the word of no less an authority than Elva McGibeny, president of the Brookline Area Community Council. The 1982 Brookline Junefest was not a one-woman show.

"So many people credit me with the success of the first annual Junefest," Mrs. McGibbeny said. "And I keep repeating that the Junefest was a community effort. So many wonderful helpers gave of their time and service."

"What really made it a success, after considerable planning and hard work set the stage for the Junefest at Brookoine Memorial Park, was the spirit and enthusiasm of our Brookline neighbors," she added. "They made the first annual Junefest merely a forerunner of what I believe will be many, many more Junefests."

"I really don't know where to start giving the credit for getting the job done.," McGibbeny said. "We had to start out by lining up booths and here let me pat the backs of Chairmen John Mussitsch, Danny Harshbarger, Tony Ehrlich and Chuck Twardy. Nowhere could anyone find four more dependable men to get a job done. And they didn't stop at the booth committee. They measured the park's grand concourse for 30 odd booths."

"And in between doing various chores throughout the afternoon, they cleaned up the mess after the fest had ended at 7pm. As late as 8pm, along with Ang Masullo, who always shows up when you need a helping hand, they were pushing brooms and rakes, with Tom Moore, Chuck Senft's right-hand man, clearing away the debris they accumulated," she noted.

"From the moment the Community Council's information booth was opened, Marie Phenicie and Granville Webb never deserted their seats," McGibbeny said.

"They put in eight long hours passing out programs and answering questions as the crowd, estimated throughout the day at more than 10,000, passed by the BACC stand."

Mrs. McGibbeny paused for a second before continuing.

"And the program committee did a great job of informing the crowd of upcoming events plus providing a brief history of Brookline Park's origin," she said. "That group included Alice Doran, who gave us the benefit of her years of experience; Vi Nolla, Marie Phenicie, Loretta Ziegler, Marge Lubaway, Marlene Curran and Danny Harshbarger (our utility man.)"

The athletic activities on Danny McGibbeny Memorial Field, Sam Bryen Baseball/Softball Fields, The outdoor basketball court and the swimming pool were handled by Angelo Masullo, Little League president Ed Motznik and Ralph Sestilli, president of the Brookline Knights Youth Football Association, according to McGibbeny.

"Parking of the cars was the responsibility of Paul Palma, who had Jerry Burton running the lower lot operation where visiting dignitaries left their cars."

Cheryl Humensky, editor of The Journal, earns a huge assist for publicizing the Junefest, Mrs. McGibbeny stresses. "Cheryl and her supervisor, Mr. James Knepper, who owns The Journal, have our sincere appreciation for helping to get information of our community celebration to the Brookline folks," Mrs. McGibbeny said.

Mrs. McGibbeny cited her publicity committee, Danny Harshbarger, Chairperson Marge Lubaway, Marlene Curran and Dan McGibbeny with doing the necessary work to get the Junefest activities to the media.

"Harshbargar and my husband delivered posters to the various Boulevard merchants, Lubaway notified outside newspapers, TV stations and radio outlets, and Curran mimeographed thousands of flyers which were passed out to school children to take home," she added.

"The posters displayed in business establishments were done by hand and the beautiful work, in case community folks recall them, were free-hand masterpieces by Granny Webb. And most of the pictures were taken by John Keenan, a Dormont resident and old friend of Brookline causes."

Then there was a decorating committee, those who put up the ribbons and other displays that added to the allure of the Junefest. "Vi Nolla climbed a ladder to string bunting on polls and she had plenty of help from Marge Lubaway, Tony Ehrlich and Chuck Twardy," McGibbeny commented.

Mrs. McGibbeny reserved some of her accolades for the Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation Department, without which she says there would not have been a Junefest.

"Judy Marburger was a deep well of information from the start," she said. "Then dear friend Joe Natoli arranged electrical power for four of the booths. Dom Pandolf and John Defeo provided chairs, tables, the stage, Port-O-Johns, etc. Also, a bow to Tom Moore who opened the park at 6:30am and helped us in so many ways throughout the day, staying for the final cleanup at 8:30pm - a 14 hour day."

Noting that in 1979, the Pirates were "Fam-a-lee," and the Steelers were "Super" for a fourth time, and Pitt had won another post-season bowl, and Pittsburgh was the "City of Champions," Mrs. McGibbeny wrote an official finish to the first annual Brookline Junefest of June 12, 1982:

"I've always known Brookline people as loyal neighbors and the Junefest crowd proves that we are Pittsburgh's 'Community of Champions.'"

Picture of
 BACC president Elva McGibbeny and State Representative Mike
 Dawida.

BACC president Elva McGibbeny receives official recognition for her tireless
efforts in organizing the Junefest and her dedication to the Brookline
community. Presenting the award is State Representative Mike Dawida.
Elva was instrumental in the renovation of Brookline Memorial Park.

Picture of
 Chuck E Cheese float.
The crowd at Junefest I was greeted by a huge Chuck E. Cheese float.
To the children's delight, the real Cheeze showed up a little later to
schmooze with his favorite little pizza lovers, the kids of Brookline.

Picture of
 the Parkvale balloon  Picture of
 the Parkvale balloon
The Parkvale Savings Balloon was a prize attraction at the 1983 Junefest. Passengers
got a bird's eye view of the festivities and a great panorama view of Brookline.

Elva McGibbeny, Pat Ruby, and Alice Doran.
Former BACC Presidents Elva McGibbeny (left) and Alice Doran (right)
join 1985 President Pat Brooks at the 4th Brookline Junefest.

American Legion
 Color Guard
The Color Guard from American Legion Post #540 was always on hand
for the flag raising ceremonies that opened the summer Fest.

Brookline - A Special Place
John Mussitsch and Alice Doran find the proper shirt size for 1985
BACC Junefest chairman Dan Harshbarger. The festival attire
appropriately describes Brookline as "A Special Place".

The Life Flight
 Helicopter
The Life Flight helicopter came yearly to the Junefest. The paramedics
swooped in, landed on the ballfield, and gave demonstrations on first
aid techniques, as well as answer a wide range of questions. After
about an hour, they would fire up the rotors and head home.

Picture of Chuck E Cheese and friends
A lifesize Chuck E Cheese makes his rounds at the Junefest. The heralded Pizza Rat
was a regular at the Brookline fests, and the kids couldn't get enough of him.

Picture of
 the dunking booth
The dunking booth was always the #1 attraction at the Junefest. Here, in 1983,
Marlene Curran is about to test the latch and splash Pat Brooks. Both Marlene
and Pat have spent many years as dedicated and active BACC board members.

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