Until Cranberry Township Community Chest took over Community Days in 2007, the event really should have been called “Township Days” because Cranberry Township supplied 95 percent of workers and paid 95 percent of the cost, according to organizers.
What a difference five years makes.
These days, it's volunteers who make the three-day event—which will be held July 12-14 at Cranberry Community Park—a success. Last year, 450 volunteers ran the show—and CTCC sponsorships paid for a majority of costs. For this year's event, organizers expect the volunteer numbers to exceed 500.
According to CTCC organizers, the number of volunteers has increased each year because the event celebrates the community's nonprofit and civic groups. It also gives nonprofit members the opportunity to raise awareness for their causes, sign up new volunteers and raise money.
For many families, another part of the big attraction to Community Days is being able to take part in the festivities without spending much—or any—money.
Unlike most fairs, there is no entrance fee to get into the event. While there are requests for parking donations during Saturday’s event, the money benefits local projects in the community.
Other activities—including the carnival and ice-skating—do have a small cost, but there are more than a dozen free activities, including eight concerts throughout the event at the park's amphitheater.
Churches also are a big part in Community Days. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints will celebrate its 10-year anniversary running the Children’s Shelter of Community Days, which will have many new (and free) kids activities July 14.
For the fourth year in a row, Grace Community Church will aid in carnival ticket collections and collect parking donations. Victory Family Church also has stepped up this year to supply three huge inflatables for all three days of the event. The church also is donating an additional three inflatables to be located on the upper level of the park July 14. Church volunteers will staff the rides.
“What is nice about have churches involved is they take the full responsibility of that activity,” said Cranberry Township Supervisor Chairman Bruce Mazzoni, who is chairman of the event. “We coordinate the logics and objectives, but after that, we know that event is in good hands and they manage it completely, including recruiting volunteers. It is one less event that we need to manage.”
For the third year, members of the 475th Quartermaster Army Reserve, located on Marshall Road in Cranberry, will help with the event’s set up, equipment, safety issues and internal park traffic and control.
For those interested in volunteering, visit the CTCC website at www.CTCChest.org and click the Community Days page. From there, click the tab labeled “volunteer opportunities.”
-- Information submitted by Cranberry Township Community Chest. Have news you'd like to share with Patch readers? Email information and photos to Editor Jessica Sinichak at email@example.com or visit our Neighborhood Gallery.