Ford City Carnival Back After 45-Year Absence  

Old and young alike enjoyed the gigantic slide at Ford City’s FunFest.

Ford City’s “School’s Out Family Funfest” carnival on 3rd Avenue is back in action tonight after the threat of a tornado last night.

The carnival was put together by the Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership, Inc. (FCRCP), with the idea of bringing it back the way it used to be.

“It has been 45 years since the last carnival in Ford City,” Co-Chairman Paul Klukan explained. “There’s a lot of people here our age, who are older and remember it the way it was and all the memories. To them, it means a lot. It was a big thing.”

“The idea was to bring back the carnival the way it used to be when I was a kid, and even when Paul was a kid.” Co-Chairman Steve Heffner added.

Evan Lyle of Manorville prepares to strike the Kiddie High Striker with a mallet in hopes of winning a prize.

“When I was a child, I grew up in Ford City, from the time I was little this is where my parents would bring us, “ Manorville resident Nikki Mantini said. “They haven’t done this in years.”

“We came to this every year,” Mantini added. “I think it’s nice, especially the people who organized this, they really worked hard. I think people are happy to see something like this come back. And happy to see the money come back to the town. This helps the community and it brings people in.”

“Hopefully we can keep it going and do it annually,” Heffner said. “The idea of it is to make the community feel like they want something like this. And family wise, there’s a lot of kids here in Ford City, these kids don’t even know what a carnival is like. They have no idea. They know about Kennywood , they know about Idlewild, but they don’t know what a carnival in their own hometown is like.”

With all the different attraction and games, the entire event has something for everyone of all ages.

Cassie Klimkowicz of Ford City rides with her daughter, Nellie, which she called the Dragon Wagon!

“It’s easy to walk to,” Ford City resident Cassie Klimkowicz said. “It’s fun like an amusement park, and we don’t have to drive anywhere. There’s a sense of community; my daughter gets to see her friends that she was just in school with, so she’s riding with some of her classmates that she missed.”

“The Dragon wagon was fun,” Klimkowicz’s daughter Nettie said.

“I love bringing the kids, with all the different things they have going on,” Ford City resident Brittany Cravener said. “I like the kid-friendly stuff because I have 3-year-olds. So they enjoy it.”

Ford City Hose Company #1 leaders Joe Peters (left) and Dr. William Oleksak manned the alcoholic beverage booth sponsored by the fire department at this week’s carnival.

Kittanning Champion Force Cheerleading was one of the vendors there selling walking tacos attempting to raise money for an upcoming event.

“We’re all from Armstrong County, and we’re here fundraising. We are going to a national competition in Chicago next month. So we’re trying to raise money to help fund the trip. We will be here all week. We would like to sell out everything we have to offer because this is for them, the group, really.”

From funnel cakes to deep fried Oreos, gyros and more, there seemed to be food in abundance for everyone to enjoy.

“I really enjoyed J & J Smokehouse. They have sausage, smoked cheese, and some kind of cotton-candy ice which was good.”

While 45 years have passed since the last carnival, the FCRCP will look to keep this event going for years to come. The carnival will only be around for two more days and will be open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.