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93rd annual Saxonburg Fireman’s Carnival starts Tuesday

Rowan Waybright, 3, pets a dog during the Saxonburg Carnival’s pet parade in 2022. Butler Eagle file photo

Saxonburg lives and dies by its local entertainment, and one of its centerpiece events has been a part of the borough for nearly a century now. The Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company will host the borough’s 93rd annual Fireman’s Carnival, a five-day affair which starts Tuesday, June 25, and ends Saturday, June 29.

The annual carnival is one of the fire department’s largest fundraising events each year, along with the annual Sportsman’s Fest each September.

“We're excited to be helping with the Saxonburg Fireman's Carnival again,” said local business owner Doug Sprankle, whose grocery store, Sprankle’s Neighborhood Market, is the main gate sponsor. “It's a great Saxonburg tradition.”

The carnival, open from 6 to 11 p.m. each night at the carnival grounds on Horne Avenue, will feature food vendors and rides from C&L Shows. Due to the support from sponsors, the carnival has waived the gate fee this year, so entry is free.

The Saxonburg VFC will provide a large field for patrons to park.

“The best place to park will be down on Horne Avenue,” said assistant fire chief Michael Krchelich. “There’s a large field off Horne Avenue across from the pond.”

The first day of the Fireman’s Carnival will be marked by a long-standing tradition, the Pet Parade, where pets and their owners march from the Saxonburg Memorial Church on Main Street to the carnival grounds. The parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with registration starting at 6 p.m. at the church.

Just about any pet is welcome to take part in the parade as long as they don’t pose a danger to others, according to carnival organizer Paul Donaldson.

“We see cats and dogs. We've had horses and donkeys, and we've had camels before,” Donaldson said. “We've had people walking skunks, and we’ve had a turkey on a leash.”

Another Fireman’s Carnival tradition, the Water Battle, is returning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, after a brief hiatus. The Saxonburg VFC has invited neighboring fire companies to take part in a mock battle with fire hoses, although it will not be participating itself.

“We did not have it the past couple of years due to lack of interest,” Krchelich said. “We got a lot of interest this year, so we're going to bring it back.”

The centerpiece of the entire week is the Fireman’s Parade, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. Krchelich and firefighter Dylan Young, the latter of whom organizes the parade, said hundreds of invitations have been sent out to take part in the parade.

“We invited 400-some people,” Krchelich said. “Hopefully, we get that many.”

According to Young, the parade will start on West Water Street near Roebling Park, before making a left at Zacherl’s Restaurant onto Butler Street, taking another left onto Main Street and ending at the Saxonburg Memorial Church.

Young added that among the many vehicles in the parade would be a series of antique tractors, and that many of the participants would be throwing candy into the crowd, as is tradition.

Animals and owners march down West Main Street during the Saxonburg Carnival’s Pet Parade in 2022. Butler Eagle file photo

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