Sharpsburg’s Guyasuta Days worth the work for borough treasurer
Guyasuta Days, Sharpsburg’s annual backyard party runs Aug. 6 to 11.
Borough treasurer and event president Roxane Magnelli said her committee has worked since last year’s event to build big memories.
“I love to see the people who come out. I love to see the crowds,” Magnelli said.
Her favorite time during Guyasuta Days is always Saturday, which is dedicated to the kids. This year, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. , the bouncy rides will be free for children. The bounce attractions and other booths, along with nightly entertainment, will fill Kennedy Park off North Canal Street.
Traditions will be upheld, like the crowning of the Guyasuta chief and princess on Monday and free corn on the cob on Wednesday.
They are standards which bind the attendees to generations of older Sharpsburg residents, Magnelli said.
Guyasuta Days goes back to when FDR was president despite the festival being on hiatus most of the 80s and early 90s.
In 1996, the tradition returned with locals like Jackie Lugara dedicating the past 22 years to volunteering.
Magnelli came on board in 2009 but her efforts have grown substantially over the past decade. She now heads the volunteer committee and for the 59-year-old, monthly meetings began last August just after wrapping the 2017 event.
Magnelli said the efforts focus on the week-long activities but the mission has become about bolstering the community.
They don’t worry about how much money they make during Guyasuta week, knowing that over the last 20 years more than $100,000 has been returned to the community.
Magnelli said proceeds “go into our pot and go right back out.”
Recipients include the borough’s fire department and library. The VFD received $10,000 which primed the pump to begin fundraising for a new engine.
Magnelli said there are also small grants given to help neighbors hit by unexpected tragedies, including recent flooding on July 2.
“When someone comes apart and we help, I remember why I’m doing this and why I’m here,” she said.
Part of her dedication to her community is rooted in memories. She would walk home for lunch from elementary school and stop at her
grandmother’s or other relatives.
“I just always remember what an awesome place it was to grow up down here,” she said.
Magnelli went on to graduate from Fox Chapel Area High School. For 19 years she worked with Allegheny County and then became Sharpsburg’s
treasurer. She pays the invoices, keeps track of the books, runs the budget report and completes the payroll.
She takes time daily to walk through her small city garden and look for new blooms. She reads and rides her bike, too.
People who know her say that ‘relaxed’ is her middle name. She said its the great committee she works with which keeps her that way.