Rally on Grant gathers momentum at Vandergrift
A new seasonal monthly event in Vandergrift has proven to be a crowd pleaser.
Gathering on Grant, a community food and vendor festival, debuted in May.
Lead organizer Eric Mikula said the event was a great success.
” It was wonderful. The response from our neighbors has been excellent. Everyone is coming together and we are all about community and unity,” Mikula said.
The event is sponsored by the Vandergrift Business Association, a non-profit organization formed last year to promote unity and business growth in the borough and surrounding communities.
Vandergrift’s board approved the event last March.
Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review
Eric Mikula is the main organizer of Gathering on Grant at Vandergrift.
The gathering takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month from May to October, except July. Grant Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic during the event.
Most shops in the business district stay open later for the rally, which includes live music, several food trucks and vendors.
Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Departments Nos. 1 and 2 participate, parking fire engines and making them available for exploration.
The Vandergrift Veterans of Foreign Wars lend Mikula 80 chairs each month, and he sets them up in the middle of Grant Avenue so attendees have a place to sit while eating.
“Few festivals have places where people can sit. I do it myself,” Mikula said.
Saleswoman Carrie Caprino, from East Vandergrift, said she has enjoyed being a recurring saleswoman this season.
“I came out because it’s my hometown, and it’s the first year they’ve put it together,” said Caprino, who sells LuLaRoe clothing. “It’s a fun atmosphere and a great group.”
Del Vecchio owner Tommy Scanga stands next to Diane Dowling (holding a Philly Bratwurst hoagie) Thursday at Gathering on Grant, which continues until 8 p.m. tonight in downtown Vandergrift.@VNDNews @TribLIVE @TribWestmoreCo pic.twitter.com/oyfdfkLGzD
— Joyce Hanz (@hanz_joyce) September 15, 2022
Vandergrift native Tommy Scanga is a frequent food truck salesman.
He owns and operates Del Vecchio’s Food Truck and sells a variety of homemade sausages, fresh cut fries and more.
“It seems to be getting bigger and bigger every month. I like to go there because it’s my hometown and I like to see more where my roots are,” Scanga said.
Vandergrift City Councilor Marilee Kessler said there seems to be a renewed interest in older, walkable communities with a town center, like Vandergrift.
A realtor, Kessler noted that she’s seen many young professional homeowners choose Vandergrift with its recent additions for restaurants and stores in the business district.
“Longtime residents are happy to see Thursday nights return as a time and place to get downtown and connect with friends and neighbors,” Kessler said. “For me, as an older person, it’s nostalgia time. It’s discovering how nice it is to be able to walk around our beautiful community and enjoy the little monthly festival.
The last Gathering on Grant of this year will take place on October 20 and the event will return in 2023.
Joyce Hanz is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Joyce by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .