Apollo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon with a reduced celebration

Apollo discarded its traditional week-long celebration of the lunar landing of Apollo 11, but is planning several public events and invited NASA to the city to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landing on July 20.

"We did not want it to go unnoticed after all the years we've done it," said Sue Ott, vice president of the Apollo Area Historical Society.

The celebration of the summer lunar landing has been canceled in recent years due to the decrease in attendance and balloon costs.

For decades, he personified the character of Apollo's small town and attracted thousands to the city.

It was initiated by then Mayor Duane S. Guthrie and Tax Collector Charles A. Leidy to share the connection of the same name between the city and NASA's historic mission.

The first celebration featured a parade and a special US postmark. UU At Apollo on July 21, 1969, a day after astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

In the following years, the celebration of Apollo became a week-long event with fireworks, a parade and a carnival that contributed essential dollars to the city's volunteer firefighting companies.

Eventually, the celebration began to fade in phases, according to Bill Kerr, a former Apollo mayor and former member of Apollo Hose Company No. 2 who now serves as superintendent of the Norwin School District.

"These days, the parade and the fireworks take a tremendous fundraiser to join," Kerr said. "You do not have a good number of march groups and it's about dollars to transport them and feed them." Fireworks are very expensive, we can not compete with what happens in Pittsburgh. "

But for a time, Apollo was a destination for its annual celebration of the summer lunar landing, when clbad meetings and other events were jointly planned.

"For the fireworks on Friday night that attracted so many people, every concession stand made money. That was the big night, "Kerr recalled.

There was an economy of scale for attendance, event costs and fundraising worked well, at least for a while.

"Bill Swank, owner of Swank & # 39; s Amusements, sold his business about five years ago and carnivals were not the same," Kerr said.

Now the event is evolving towards something different.

This year's celebration, scheduled for July 20 at Owens Field, will feature a craft exhibit, flea market, food vendors, a car cruise, a bounce house, ice cream and pizza contests, and other events that still they are celebrated In the planning stages.

The Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation is waiting for news from NASA to see if the agency will send a speaker.

The Apollo Area Historical Society, the Apollo Memorial Library and the Apollo-Ridge School District and the Education Foundation continue to work together in the programming of this year's event.

Mary Ann Thomas is a writer of Tribune-Review. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or on Twitter .

If you go
What: Apollo 50 anniversary celebration of the lunar landing
When: The 20th of July
Where: Field of owens
Details: Events are still being planned, but will include handicraft and food vendors, children's activities and a car cruise.

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