41 Kennywoods, and Joe Denardo has been at 38. I have only done 26. I think I went on vacation years ago during one Kennywood week.

It is such a great park– full of nostalgia, new rides that keep it current, just the right size to still have character. Joe didn’t just attend the parade. He also came to the autograph booth, hanging out with the rest of the bunch. He is still such a force at WTAE–thank goodness. Don, who is busy signing in this photo, and Stephen still chat with him often. But I miss him hanging around everyday, calling me “Sarah,” and good-naturedly needling all of us.

Speaking of meteorologists, one who has long since gone, and happens to be a dear friend, was mentioned today as we were signing autographs. Someone came by with all these photos from 1990. I looked like I had a bird’s nest in my bangs. There was Frank Cariello, the late Paul Long, and Susan Davies. I have mentioned her in blogs before. She,her husband and little girl now live in gorgeous Colorado Springs. She moved there when she left Cleveland, where she was on WEWS for about nine years . So coincidental that it happened this day, because I had just gotten an email from her right before I arrived at Kennywood.

And talk about a reminder of years gone by. This couple, Jim and Patty, have a hat complete with years of signatures. It seems so odd to sign items for people, when all you do is report and read the local news. Yet, I suppose, because of the nature of the medium, we do come into people’s homes, in a para-social sort of way. I guess what makes it disconcerting, and I never seem to fully process it, is that they seem to know us, but we don’t know them. Events like Kennywood give us the opportunity to correct that imbalance, if only by a fraction. It does make it special.

But what is really special at Kennywood? The corn dogs, of course!!!!!! I fancy myself a corn dog connoisseur and have almost been carjacked making a midnight run for one. But that is another story. Most of us at the station agree that the ones at Kennywood are among the very best. It is not the dog, it is the corn meal. At least, I think so.

And then there is the parade. This is an entire team of young baton twirlers from Charleroi. I just loved their uniforms, and they did a great job of marching. We did a great job of riding.

These are the kids, and their parents, who joined me in my parade car. Actually, only the kids rode. Several years ago, a dear friend asked if her son, whom I adore, could ride with me. Since I don’t have children, but always wanted them, I was only to happy to oblige. Now he is too old to want to do it, and he has been replaced by a succession of kids whose parents are friends, or co-workers. These are actually two families. The man is Michael Bennet, our crack sports producer, who has the most precious four-year old, Josh. This is Josh’s second year with me, and he came up with a fancy two-handed wave to entertain himself. The woman is Tracy Gray, former assignments manager at Fox, now communications manager at the Pittsburgh Zoo. These are her two daughters, Taylor(the eldest), and Alexis. When we finished, even the 10 year old Alexis had to shake out her hand after waving for 20 minutes. Hey! Waving can be hard work!

But what a beautiful day it was, and the kids, both young and old, all went away smiling. Amazing how nice weather lift your spirits…I know all our meteorologists were breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the evening.

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