By Elizabeth Perry
The McKees Rocks Borough Council voted unanimously to approve a pop-up fair during a special meeting scheduled just for this purpose July 19.
The event, scheduled to take place on Aug. 20 at Rangers Field from 1 to 7 p.m. was described as an open-air market that would feature a give-away of 100 bookbags for local school children, filled with supplies.
The event is the brainchild of Charles Russell, the owner of ORGanic LLC, a company that began in Georgia, where Russell used to live. Currently, Russell lives in Sheraden.
“Atlanta was my start with these pop-up events,” Russell said.
Russell said local vendors would take priority at the pop-up and be able to sell their wares for the price of a $25 permit.
At the time of the meeting, at least 15 businesses had expressed interest.
Russell said he knew there was a lot of negative press associated with McKees Rocks, and wanted to plan an event that was peaceful, safe and “graceful.”
McKees Rocks Police Chief Rick Deliman met with Russell and suggested Rangers Field as the best venue for the volume of the projected size of the event. Russell estimated a revolving crowd of 115 people, totaling about a thousand visitors to the event.
Russell plans to employ between two to three police officers for security. Russell said he had put aside $3,000 to fund the event, and had estimated the cost would top out at $4,000.
Archie Brinza, borough president, said the special meeting was necessary for Russell to meet his deadlines and get the pop-up fair organized in time. In a phone interview after the meeting, Brinza said he consulted with Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey who said “these events are good and reputable and vouched for them.” The borough has granted permits and provided help with planning through the police force, but Brinza said he didn’t want to pull focus from Russell’s efforts.
“He’s trying to bring a little positivity to the Rocks,” Brinza said.
In the future, Russell said he hopes to have an outdoor movie night and some other events in the borough.
Currently, there are several food trucks lined up, a local jewelry maker and a photo booth, Russell said in a phone interview after the meeting, though there were many details that still needed to be solidified.
As of July 28, Russell said he’d lined up Man’s Touch soaps and beauty products, A Mac Media full-service marketing agency, Flash That Photo Booth, Swuss and Flows, Philadelphia Water Ice, and First Layer LLC, with live screen printing for t-shirts.
He said he wanted to include more McKees Rocks folks, and believed once he received a vendors list there would be an “influx” of local vendors.
Carnival games like ring tosses and Plinko would definitely be there, as well as Central Outreach with their Health Services Truck, Russell said.