Friday’s Steelers Fest, night practice in Latrobe expected to draw 5,000
Fans anxious to see the Steelers Friday at the annual practice under the lights Friday might want to arrive at Labrobe’s Memorial Stadium early for food, fun and football-related activities at Steelers Fest.
The fest is set for noon to 6 p.m., with practice starting at 7 p.m. Both are expected to attract more than 5,000 people. Rain temporarily interrupted last year’s event but didn’t drive away eager fans.
“The atmosphere is going to be exciting,” said Briana Tomack, president of the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, which organizes Steelers Fest.
Visitors are expected from as far away as Canada.
“It’s a testament to how big of a deal this is, and how much people love the Steelers,” she said.
“It’s wonderful for the community,” Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford said. “It brings in a lot of people from all over the place, and we get to showcase our town.”
Most Steelers Fest activities will take place on a multi-purpose field outside the stadium. The fest also includes inflatable attractions, face painting and games for younger visitors.
Fans will have a chance to try out a climbing wall, view the Steelers’ Super Bowl trophies and get autographs from team alumni. Will Allen, a former safety who has supported children’s programs, will be available from 4 to 5 p.m. Tunch Ilkin, a former lineman and current broadcast analyst and co-host of a sports talk radio show, will be featured from 5 to 6 p.m.
Food vendors will be on hand, and visitors will have the opportunity to sample root beer floats.
The chamber will sell merchandise sporting a Latrobe logo. Prizes to be offered include a Jerome Bettis print and a Steelers-themed pickup truck.
A Zambelli fireworks display will follow practice, starting around 9:15 p.m.
Free parking will be available. Admission to Steelers Fest also is free.
Practice tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for kids ages 5-12 and seniors 66 or older. Admission is free for children under 5.
Many fans who arrive for the Steelers Fest will look for other activities to round out their visit to Latrobe, the mayor noted. “I think a lot of the businesses downtown will see an increase in traffic,” she said.
In addition to browsing downtown shops, she suggested visitors check out the Latrobe Art Center, at Main and Ligonier streets, and Rogers Park, at Main and Jefferson, which features a statue of native son and iconic children’s television host Fred Rogers.
“People always seem to leave here saying they’ll be back,” Wolford said of Latrobe.