by Jonathan Weaver
A Ford Cliff fundraiser this weekend might have lasting results in the small community.
Money raised at the annual ‘Rock`n the Cliff’ music showcase at the local fire hall will go toward remodeling.
Ford Cliff Fire Chief Dave Orton said firefighters went worked during the spring and were ‘all-in’ with the project by May after talking with contractors.
“It seems like as long as I’ve been here the topic comes up about remodeling – and then we look at cost and it just dies off, but (this year, we said) ‘What do you think guys? Let’s do this’ and we just kept pushing and pushing,” Orton said.
Orton, who has been with the fire department since he was 16-years-old, said members hope to create a buzz for catering, weddings and the hall’s weekly bingo with their new roof, layout and décor. Members already took the carpeting off wall and are putting stone in its place, though they are not settled on a wall color.
Only two weeks into the inside work, Orton said more changes are pending.
“There are some pretty drastic moves coming up yet,” Orton said.
He said the group isn’t looking to compete against Lenape Heights or the Kittanning Country Club, but hopes to eventually attract groups of 250-300 people.
The fire company is saving by having electrical work done through Treasurer Mark Boguslawsi, who built his own home, but hope bands at this weekend’s event attract people to food and beverage options, including a pig roast.
“We go around to some of the businesses in our area and collect donations, which offset the cost of the bands. We have no admission fee,” Orton said. “The businesses pretty much pay our band fees and stuff like that so we can put this on.”
16-year-old country singer Krissy Jo Williams of Rural Valley kicks off the event at 4PM, followed by Vandergrift’s ‘The Epics,’ a doo wop band. Country rockers ‘On the Ridge’ is next at 7PM before 80’s rock band ’13 Stories’ – a repeat to the area – ends the event.
Orton said the music also attracts residents to dance near the stage and bring their lawn chairs for a night under the stars.
“It’s just a fun night out in the evening. This is our fourth year doing it,” Orton said. “They just keep growing in popularity. Each year it’s gotten better. I think a lot of people enjoy the outdoor venue.”
Neale Avenue will be closed in front of the fire hall for the occasion, as well as the alley behind the fire hall. Both were closed after permission was granted by Ford City Borough Council, including Mayor Lori Kijowski, who Orton said is a supporter of the annual event.
Those unable to attend or donate tomorrow are welcome to attend the fire company’s Comedy Night in November.