Monday, September 5, 2011

Buhl Day

Frank Buhl, an industrialist, steel man, developed Buhl Farm Park for the working man at the beginning of the last century. Many rail roads had made up amusement parks at the end of their lines so people would ride the trains and spend money at a beautiful man made area of fun. Mr. Buhl didn't agree with that, so he bought the acreage outside of the city of Sharon, set up a trust to care for it, and no admission to enjoy its wonder. Buhl Farm Park is still delighting people to this day.
In the early days, Buhl Day was started on Labor Day. What better day for laborers to relax in the free park set up especially for them? Somewhere down the road of time, Buhl Day didn't appeal to people anymore. I know growing up, I never heard of it. It wasn't until after I was married and returned home in 1987 that I attended my first Buhl Day. I have not missed one since.
I think they started it up again in 1981, but that was the year my mom first discovered her cancer, so we were caring for her at home. She came home for a short time before she went back to hospital for treatment.
By 1987, my parents had participated in many Buhl Days, as my mother had recovered. So they knew all about it and of course, sold David and I on the idea. Didn't take much, since I already loved the park so from the time I was in high school and I could drive there easily.
My parents planted themselves at the Performing Arts Center for all the entertainment. David and I walked all over the park, meeting a million people, well, maybe a thousand, that we knew. You stop a few minutes and chat with everyone. It's a real life Facebook! Many organizations have food booths, so you scout out your favorite food and who does it best- Greek food from the Greek church, the Church of the Redeemer has wonderful BBQ pork sandwiches, now we have Seeds of Faith for our ribs and french fries, Penn State Creamery comes with a limited variety of ice cream- the best. Lemon shakes, elephant ears, funnel cakes. One year, I guess the Penn State crew wasn't there, I got a homemade ice cream drumstick, the best I ever had.
The first year we lived in our house the four of us walked to the park, plus Katie, a baby, in a stroller. Mom turned to me,"I thought you lived near the park?" She thought the five short blocks was a bit much.
The next year, when Katie was just over a year old, I strolled her down to Buhl Blvd. to see the parade. It wasn't as long then. I wanted to show my little girl off.
David can never grasp the idea of Buhl Park and Buhl Day, it is being seen and seeing people. The Shenango Valley is a big community, why the parade is now 3 hours long. Buhl Day isn't just Sharon or Hermitage, it is the Valley. I love my home area. Being from West Middlesex, I pushed my way into the rest of the area, where the action was. As soon as I was able to drive on my own, I packed up my dog and we walked at the park. Then usually visited my grandmother in Sharon or get a hamburger at the old Red Barn. Some other day, I'll talk about the Casino Dances, when my girls are older! Oh, wait, they are. Well, you still have to wait.
Today is overcast. I didn't look at the weather report, yet. I heard only 69 degrees today. We are going to meet my niece Lori at the end of her street for the parade, as another generation enjoys Buhl Day. Mary Ellen marches the 3 miles with the band. Bring your bag for candy! Money for fantastic food! Sit awhile to take in local entertainment. Congratulate the honorees. Be moved by the art show. I love Buhl Day and Buhl Farm Park, I even have a mug that says so!
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