For nearly a century, young and old Dormonters alike have gathered on July 4 to mark both the birth of our nation and the heritage of our borough.
What keeps Dormont Day alive, said committee chairperson Diane Veri, is the contributions of Dormont citizens.
Unlike other Independence Day celebrations, which are often sponsored by local governments, Dormont Day is primarily a labor of love put together by borough residents. The annual event is planned and staffed by volunteers and funded through donations. The borough provides facilities, safety services and land maintenance for the event, as well as donating money for the evening concert.
“We really appreciate their support,” said Veri, who said crowds in previous years have exceeded 10,000 attendees.
Veri, who still lives around the corner from the house she grew up in, said Dormont Day is simply too precious a tradition to let go. She and a handful of other residents plan the event around their kitchen tables.
“It’s our purpose to put together just this one day where our community can come together and celebrate,” Veri said.
The tradition stretches back as far as organizers can remember.
“We all remember it from when we were kids,” she said. “We want to keep that memory going for our community.”
Terre Paulson, instructor of the Eagles Twirling Corp, agreed. Her squad’s performance will lead up to the day’s big event, the fireworks display.
The twirlers (formerly the Dormont Boosterettes) have “pretty much always” been part of the Dormont Day celebration, said Paulson, and keeping that tradition alive is an important part of our borough’s heritage.
“There used to be 150 or so twirling corps around Pittsburgh,” she said. “Now it’s down to a handful, if that.”
Being part of the Dormont Day celebration gives her squad a sense of pride in both their community and themselves, Paulson said.
This year’s event will feature foot races and other athletic events put on by Dormont Athletic Boosters Association, indoor bingo games run by the Dormont Library and kids’ activities including crafts, inflatable play equipment and a miniature train.
West Liberty Cycles donates a bicycle for the Dormont Day committee to raffle off.
“This is no cheapo bike,” Veri said. “They give us a beautiful bike every year.”
Executing Dormont Day would be impossible without the cooperative spirit that defines Dormont, Veri said.
“The athletic boosters, the library, local businesses, the borough—they all come together to make the day happen,” she said.
“Everybody loved him so much last time, we had to bring him back," Veri said.
Unfortunately, Veri said, donations for this year’s event have been below average, forcing the committee to forgo the Dormont Day parachuting exhibit, a perennial favorite.
“We’re very sensitive to the nation’s current economic issues,” said Veri. “We’re having to be very cautious (with the budget), but are hoping everyone will still have fun.”
It will still be Dormont Day, she assured, because traditions remain: parents stuffing grab bags, kids savoring buttermilk and families sitting together to watch fireworks.
That kind of involvement, said Veri, is what makes Dormont Day.
The Dormont Day celebration will be held in the Dormont Pool parking lot on Monday, July 4. Festivities begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 10 p.m. A fireworks display by Zambelli International Fireworks will begin around 9:30 p.m.
Commemorative T-shirts and grab bags (containing goodies and a bike raffle ticket) will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit the 2012 Dormont Day celebration.