By Ryan McLaughlin and Jonathan Weaver
Ford Cliff Volunteer Fire Company will be holding their sixth-annual “Rock’n the Cliff” fundraiser tomorrow at 4PM.
‘Rock’n the Cliff’ started six years ago as a means for the Ford Cliff Volunteer Fire Company to earn some much-needed funds, as well as give back to the community.
System Chief and Secretary Dave Orton said the event has grown each year in popularity and events.
“We came up with this idea to put some bands outside and invite everybody in,” he said. “We sell food. We sell beverages, and it just took off from there. It’s been growing each year.
“About the second or third year into it, we incorporated a hog roast into it,” he said.
Along with the free admission, community residents will get to listen to three bands perform as they enjoy the food.
From 5-7PM, the Hackers, a Vandergrift-based band will be playing. From 7-9PM, the Travelers will take the stage. Based out of Ford City, the Travelers play a mixture of rock, blues, and Southern Rock before “Amanda Jones & the Family Band” performs from 9-11PM.
More of a country group, Amanda Jones and the Family Band – which performed during in June’s Arts on the Allegheny Summer Concert Series in Kittanning Riverfront Park – calls Youngstown, Ohio home and play a mixture original works and cover songs.
The bands will be performing on a stage that was donated by Armstrong Community Theater. Orton said that he hopes to have more stages for the bands, to help keep the entertainment going all night.
Most of the money generated from the fundraiser will be used to help expand the fire hall – an ongoing project that has been in the works for years since the fire hall was just a cement building.
Contractors and volunteer firefighters have since expanded their hall to incorporate a stage and projector on one wall. Proceeds this month will help volunteers install a bar area and extra storage to better facilitate any community groups that rent out the Neale Avenue facility.
Fire Hall Member and “Go-for” George Boguslawski has worked on the improvements with his son, Mark.
“We’ve been working for over a year and they decided they can afford to put the addition on. They first thought about just doing the stage but the engineers said ‘If you’re going to do that, just go all the way’ so we could have storage,” Boguslawski said.
He said groups this summer that have rented the hall for a 50th wedding anniversary, funeral luncheons and youth projects have been amazed at the difference.
“Folks come in here and are like ‘Wow!’ People remember when it was all just painted cement block,” Boguslawski said.
A new projector can show photos or even live sporting events on the newest wall for groups.
Chief Bill Goodman said the fire hall is “almost done. It shouldn’t take much longer now.”
Orton thanked the community for their generosity.
“Our neighbors accept us really well,” he said. “The one guy down here gives us a couple Easy-Ups, (tents) to set up for people to sit under. The community really does back this. I think they enjoy this.”
Orton also helped explain why monthly fundraisers – such as the “Rockin` the Cliff” – are so important to the fire company.
“Our fire department is self-sufficient,” he explained. “We don’t get the tax dollars. We don’t have anything like that.”
Upcoming fundraisers include a purse bash next month, Cosmic Bingo in October and the 10th annual Firehouse Comedy Night in November. Orton said firefighters try to orchestrate a variety of fundraisers to stand out from the rest.