The Great American Banana Split Festival

By Karen Fetter

August 26 – 28, 2016

IMG_1028Latrobe is about to go bananas!  After years of debate between Ohio and Pennsylvania, the decision is in that Latrobe, PA is where the banana split was invented.  It was determined that the Banana Split was invented in 1904 by 23-year-old David Evans Strickler at Tassel Pharmacy located at 805 Ligonier Street.

Young David Strickler used a banana as the base of a three-scoop masterpiece and the total cost was just 10 cents.  St. Vincent College students quickly took to the new creation and its popularity spread across the globe.  A historical marker was installed in 2013 at the site of the pharmacy and since then a yearly celebration has taken place that involves the community and local businesses.

This year’s event is scheduled for August 26-28 and promises to deliver fun for everyone.

The Greater Latrobe and Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsor the Great American Banana Split Festival along with Valley Dairy Restaurant and Excela Health.

Most of the events take place on the downtown streets of Latrobe on Main and Ligonier Streets.  However, there are other sites such as the Medicine Shoppe on Depot Street, Memorial Stadium in Legion Keener Park, and the Latrobe Art Center.

This is not just an event with food vendors – this is a three-day celebration with races, concerts, and activities.

Entertainment and Events

Beginning on Friday, there will be food vendors lining Main and Ligonier Streets and an entertainment stage where local entertainers and demonstrators will perform.

New this year will be a farmers’ market that will sell local grown fruits, vegetables, and other goods.

There will also be a Car Cruise held on Saturday, August 28.  The first 100 cars registered will receive dash plaques.  Registration fee is $10 per vehicle.

Live Concert featuring Kellie Pickler

S & T Bank presents country star Kellie Pickler along with the Saddle Up band at Latrobe Memorial Stadium on Saturday night, August 27.  Gates open at 5:00 p.m. and this is a rain or shine event.  General admission tickets are $20 and seats are first come first serve stadium style.  Ground level admission tickets are $40 and are first come first serve standing space in front of the stage on the ground.  There were also VIP Experience tickets, however, these are no longer available. This event benefits the Blackburn Center.

Gutchess Hardwoods 5K Banana Run

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A 5K run for both runners and walkers will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 27 at the Legion Keener Park Entrance.  Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.  The route of the race weaves

through the downtown area of Latrobe and is similar to the other 5K runs Latrobe has throughout the year.  Unique medals will be given to the top three male and female winners for each age bracket (under 15, 15-19, 20-30, 31-40, 41 -49, 50-59, 60+).  Each participant will also receive a t-shirt and can visit the UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Stretch Tent throughout the morning.  To register visit www.bananasplitfest.com/events/5k-banana-run.

St. Vincent College Colour Magic Color Dash 5K

There is another 5K race, but this one involves color!  St. Vincent College is sponsoring a Color Dash 5K on August 28 where 50% of the proceeds goes back into the community and benefits the Greater Latrobe Chamber of Commerce.  The cost is $40 for an individual, $85 for a family of three, $100 for a family of four, $115 for a family of five, and $130 for a family of six.  Registration starts at 10:30 a.m. and the race begins at noon with the color presentations at 1:30 p.m.

Kids Corner

An afternoon of fun for kids of all ages will be held in the parking lot in front of the Medicine Shoppe located off of Depot Street.  There will be face painting, games and crafts during the days on August 27 and 28.  There is also a Children’s Arena sponsored by MedExpress!

Eat n’ Park Pie Eating Contest

The Great American Pie Eating Contest, hosted by Eat n’ Park, is looking for anyone 18 years or older to eat a Banana Cream Pie including the crust in the fastest time.  The winner will have his or her name engraved in a championship belt that will be on display at the Neighborhood Visitor and Information Center.

Don’t miss The Great American Banana Split Festival in Latrobe, PA this years.

For more information visit the website  www.bananasplitfest.com.

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