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Pittsburgh full of celebrations on the Fourth

Thursday, July 03, 2003

By Michelle K. Massie, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

While the city of Pittsburgh is offering up all kinds of goodies for the Fourth of July, including its annual Zambelli fireworks display, there are other happenings around town tomorrow.

Downtown and the North Shore will be crowded with activities, but smaller celebrations will be going on in neighborhoods all over the city.

Carol Green holds a picture of her husband Sherman, who died Oct. 25, 2002. Behind her, workers prepare for a Fourth of July party in his honor at Green's Homewood residence. Green and her family have thrown a Fourth of July block party on Monticello Street for several years and it has turned into a community celebration. (Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette)
Click photo for larger image.

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Closings, Changes

In observance of the Fourth of July, all city, county, state and federal governmental offices, courts, banks and liquor stores will be closed tomorrow. There will be no regular mail delivery.

City garbage pickups normally scheduled for tomorrow will be collected Saturday.

The Port Authority will operate on its holiday schedule and provide extra bus and rail service tomorrow for the city’s fireworks display, which begins at 9:38 p.m. The Gold Retriever Shuttle bus service will run between the lower and upper stations of the Monongahela Incline from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

One of them has been growing for the past five years.

Carolyn Green and her husband, Sherman, started celebrating the Fourth of July with a party for family and friends at their Homewood home. The celebration has grown from a few dozen people to 300 revelers last year. No longer are friends and family the only attendees, but residents from around the neighborhood and other neighborhoods, even strangers, have been welcomed to the festivities.

This year's celebration is in memory of Sherman Green, who died last year.

"Sherman just started it by inviting a few people over," his wife said. "It's grown so much, and it should be even bigger this year because it's like a memorial to him."

Green, 53, said that her party has become so popular because people have a good time.

"They just have fun, there's plenty of food, and it's a time for relaxing and enjoying themselves while the kids play in the pool," she said.

The party stretches along Monticello Street between Homewood Avenue and Sterrett Street.

Green said she supplies the meat but asks that everyone else try to bring side dishes. The festivities, which begin at noon and last well into the night, are free and include swimming, water gun battles, games and music provided by a disc jockey.

Green said there have never been any incidents challenging the safety of the party-goers. Her late husband was national vice president of Sin City Motorcycle Club, whose members attend for fun as well as to offer security.

Stay at Green's for a few hours and then head Downtown to enjoy the activities in Point State Park and on the North Shore.

Starting at 1 p.m., the city's full program of free events includes pickup volleyball games, a family activities area featuring giant inflatables and an adult climbing wall, tethered hot-air balloon rides, a live radio broadcast by WDVE and a free concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which is to begin at 8 p.m.

Central Blood Bank will host a blood drive in its donor coach to be parked across the street from the Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers, near the entrance to Point State Park, from noon to 5 p.m. Games and giveaways will take place out front.

"We are confident that this blood drive, on Independence Day, will once again show Pittsburgh's strong belief in its community and their support of fellow residents by donating blood," said Erin Connolly, the coordinator for the blood drive, in a prepared statement.

Citizens Bank has enlisted volunteers to hand out 25,000 free miniature American flags at both entrances to the park on Commonwealth Place from 5 to 7 p.m.

If you need a break from the park, you may want to venture over to the North Side. From noon to 2 p.m. Pirates players will line up along Federal Street for fans to take photos. Then the Pirates will take on the Houston Astros at 4:05 p.m. at PNC Park.

At 5 p.m. the Fabulous Thunderbirds will perform a free musical concert at Heinz Field. Gates open at 4 p.m. and parking is $3 in stadium lots.

The finale is, of course, the 20-minute fireworks spectacular from Zambelli slated to begin at 9:38 p.m. Fireworks will be set off from five barges stationed on Pittsburgh's three rivers.

Mike Radley, assistant director of parks and recreation, said 50,000 people are expected to watch the show from Point State Park, while another 150,000 people watch from vantage points around the city.

To accommodate the large number of visitors, Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages will be open and charge the standard weekend rate of $3.

For those who choose not to drive, Port Authority will provide extra bus and rail service. It will operate two-car trains on the Light Rail Transit system and provide additional bus service in all major corridors from early evening until the end of service tomorrow night. Additional shuttle service will be provided between the upper and lower stations of the Monongahela Incline.

For a full schedule of the city's July Fourth weekend events, including times, visit www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/parks or call 412-255-2493.

Michelle K. Massie can be reached at mmassie@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1601.

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