Derry’s 31st annual Railroad Days festival is finally here and will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

A few changes from years past will be in effect for this year’s prestigious event, as the Hobo Picnic and the bonfire have been canceled. The Hobo Picnic has taken place the Thursday before the festival while the bonfire was held the following night.

A parade will kickoff the festivities at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. The parade route is scheduled to begin at A.V. Germano Hall in Derry Borough and proceed across Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Some of the participants slated to march in the parade include: Derry VFW, Derry Borough Mayor Alanna DeRito-Gaudiello, state Sen. Kim Ward, state Rep. Joseph Petracca, A.J. Myers and Sons, Southwestern Pa. Firefighters’ Pipe and Drum Band, Boy Scouts 305 and 352, Girl Scouts 81405, Diamond Dolls, Jaffa Lil’ Vettes, Trackless Train, Be Cool, Three River Ford Model A Club, Ligonier witches on bicycles dance, 1913 Gettysburg Reunion Band, TGZ Panther cheer team, Superior Motors, Champion Marshall Arts, Petrillo’s Karate, Lions Club hayride, Derry First United Methodist Church, and Westmoreland County Little Miss Agriculture USA.

In addition, food, craft and sales vendors will be on hand during the two-day event and will be located on South Chestnut Street and East Second Avenue.

Entertainment will take place during the festivities on the main stage, located in the First Commonwealth Bank parking lot beside Mossback Park. The parking area will contain chairs and picnic tables that will be spread apart to maintain social distancing.

A couple of the top headliners to perform include The Steel City Yacht Club and The Andy Davis Band. The Steel City Yacht Club is scheduled to perform at 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and the Andy Davis Band is set to take the stage 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

Saturday’s entertainment lineup starts at 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with Badd Monkey and continues from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m. with Safety Last; 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. with I Want My MTV, followed by headliner Steel City Yacht Club.

Sunday’s entertainment begins at noon to 1 p.m. with Brang’em Bring’em, followed by Wilcard from 1:15 to 3:00 p.m., and concludes with headliner Andy Davis Band.

Pandemic safety precautions and guidelines will be in place during the festival, and hand sanitizer will be available at vendor booths. In addition, signs will placed throughout area reminding the public of safety guidelines and precautions.

The public will not be permitted to access the municipal building’s restrooms during the festival. However, portable toilets will be provided.

The caboose gift shop will be open to the public under social distancing guidelines. Masks will also be encouraged to wear.

Derry Railroad Days began in 1990 as a way to recognize and preserve the railroad heritage of eastern Westmoreland County, especially Derry Station.

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The Derry Area School District 21st Century Community Learning Center Program Director Debbie Gray would like to share that the after-school program best known as “aft3r@dasd” is being offered virtually throughout the month of September. The 21st CCLC instructors have been busy preparing STEM activities for the students. The program is free to students in the Derry Area School District K-12. Homework help, enrichment and targeted tutoring services are available to the students.

To register go to cclc.dasd.us. A follow-up email will be sent upon registration.

For more information, email Debbie at dgray@dasd.us

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On Monday, Sept. 14, the Derry Area School District began serving breakfast and lunches to all children/students in the community free of charge.

This is because of the extension of the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waiver that will run until Dec. 31 (or based on available funding). Students who purchased meals from Sept. 1 to Sept. 14 will have a full reimbursement for those meals.

The district asks that you please complete your application for free or reduced priced meals if you have not already. Please note this is available to ALL children/students in the community. The district’s promise is to do its best to keep your child safe and healthy. Rest assured that all the extra steps are being taken in disinfecting the serving areas and kitchen. The hope is that in the near future, the district will be able to incorporate more choices in the meals for its students. For now, it is all about safety and providing a healthy meal under the current circumstances.

Students not attending school in-person and participating through remote instruction may pick-up breakfast and/or lunch at the middle school entrance between 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

For any questions or concerns, contact Gwen Kozar with the Derry Area food service department at gkozar@dasd.us or 724-694-1401 Ext. 1442.

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Derry Borough Council meetings will hold its work sessions and regular monthly meetings for the remainder of 2020 at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at A.V. Germano Hall, located at 100 W. Second St., Derry.

Work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 6, Nov. 20 and Dec. 1. The regular monthly meetings are set for Oct. 13, Nov. 17 and Dec. 8.

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The next Derry Area School Board work session will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, in the middle school auditorium. The regularly monthly meeting will be held the following week on Oct. 1.

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The Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce wants you to show off your #SocialGood by donating your gently worn, used and new shoes to its #ShoeDrive fundraiser. Every pair you donate turns into funds for the Chamber, is kept out of landfills and helps micro-entrepreneurs around the world. Shoes will be accepted through Sept. 31.

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Finally, a couple quick sports shoutouts to some Derry Area High School athletes. First, congratulations to the Derry Area Middle School football team on its 20-12 victory over East Allegheny.

Kudos to Derry Area High School’s No. 1 singles tennis player Leah Perry on her fourth-place finish in the WPIAL Section 1-AA Singles Tournament.

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Just a reminder that Friday’s high school football game at Deer Lakes will be broadcast on the Westmoreland Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 6:20 p.m. followed by the kickoff at 7 p.m. Both teams are searching for their first victory of the season.

Have a fantastic Derry Railroad Days weekend, and let’s go Trojans!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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