Kirby Park attracts hundreds for Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Carlee Dennis, 2, of Hanover Township, tries her hand at the goldfish bowl toss at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Carlee Dennis, 2, of Hanover Township, tries her hand at the goldfish bowl toss at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Joshua Tupper, 8, of Chincoteague, Va., who is visiting his great-grandmother in Wilkes-Barre, starts his descent on the Fun Slide at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Joshua Tupper, 8, of Chincoteague, Va., who is visiting his great-grandmother in Wilkes-Barre, starts his descent on the Fun Slide at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Eight-year-old Corbin Langman, of Honesdale, rides the Dragon Wagon at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Eight-year-old Corbin Langman, of Honesdale, rides the Dragon Wagon at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — In an annual tradition, Wilkes-Barre once again filled Kirby Park with food, fun and, of course, fireworks for their Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.

The party started at noon on Thursday, and carried on all the way until fireworks in the evening.

Vendors lined a path throughout the park, selling all the classic carnival food; funnel cakes and ice cream abounded, but what festival in Northeastern Pennsylvania could really be complete with out some pierogi?

That’s what Joe Stanavage Jr. is likely to say. Stanavage is the president of the Hazleton-based companies Joe’s Homemade Pierogies and Joe’s Mini-donuts.

“We were invited up last year to sell our famous pierogies,” Stanavage said, adding that this year’s celebration has already been more successful since it didn’t get rained out like 2018’s did.

“It’s been steady so far,” he said, early in the afternoon. “It’ll probably get busier as the day goes on.”

Stanavage will surely be right, as hundreds of people were expected to pack into Kirby Park in the evening to watch the grand firework display, put on by Wapwallopen-based Skyshooter Displays.

Until then, though, there was still plenty to do at the park, especially if you have kids in your family. Carnival games, face-painting and amusement rides dotted the normally sleepy Kirby Park.

The Rittenhouse family, of Kingston, brought their three young children to the festival, something they said they’ve been doing for years.

Parents Alyssa and Ray said they “come as a family; it’s a tradition.” They’ve been bringing their sons Robert and Michael for years, but it’s their youngest child, daughter Hayden, who was seeing the festival for the first time.

The Rittenhouses said they planned on checking out the festival for a little while before heading to a barbecue. Then, they said they’d be joining hundreds of others from around the Wyoming Valley to watch the firework display.

Carlee Dennis, 2, of Hanover Township, tries her hand at the goldfish bowl toss at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/web1_TTL070519BikeGiveawayCarnival_5.jpgCarlee Dennis, 2, of Hanover Township, tries her hand at the goldfish bowl toss at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Joshua Tupper, 8, of Chincoteague, Va., who is visiting his great-grandmother in Wilkes-Barre, starts his descent on the Fun Slide at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/web1_TTL070519BikeGiveawayCarnival_4.jpgJoshua Tupper, 8, of Chincoteague, Va., who is visiting his great-grandmother in Wilkes-Barre, starts his descent on the Fun Slide at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Eight-year-old Corbin Langman, of Honesdale, rides the Dragon Wagon at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/web1_TTL070519BikeGiveawayCarnival_3.jpgEight-year-old Corbin Langman, of Honesdale, rides the Dragon Wagon at the Fourth of July carnival at Kirby Park on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan