PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh celebrated its 200th anniversary Friday with a bicentennial parade through downtown in the morning and concerts and fireworks in the afternoon and evening.
In a fitting tribute, the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Parade opened with our men and women in blue who protect and serve the city. With the recent clashes around the country, security was not taken lightly.
“We’ve got a lot of resources you will see, we’ve got quite a number that you don’t as well,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said. “So we’re confident that we’ve got good plans in place.”
The city’s 200th birthday party was led by the descendants of the first people to live in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“We’re the first Americans. I mean, we were here before this was America,” Russell Sims of the Counsel of Three Rivers American Indians said.
“It is an honor to lead, but all the different heritages are extremely important. That’s what makes up America,” he added.
Mayor Bill Peduto says it’s the parade of parades with 200 participants bridging the city’s past, present and future.
“So we’re going through 200 years of history here and looking forward to the next part,” he said.
Herbert Denny dressed to honor his ancestor Ebeneezer Denny, the city’s first mayor.
“The big thing that he did for the city was he orchestrated the construction of good roads and good wharves,” he said.
The parade highlighted the wide variety of ethnic groups who now call Pittsburgh home. It also featured sports heroes who helped bring championships to the city.
“You’ll never be forgotten,” former Pittsburgh Pirate Kent Tekulve said. “These people don’t forget you. They love you, and it’s nice as you get up in years to actually have people remember what you did.”
“I love Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh adopted me,” former Pirate Manny Sanguillen said, “so I feel like I’m from Pittsburgh, a Pittsburgher.”
Former world wrestling champ Bruno Sammartino will always call Pittsburgh home.
“I think Pittsburgh is the nicest place to live in, people are always so wonderful over here,” he said. “I love this town.”
The party continued well into the evening, with bands performing at Point State Park before the fireworks. Many people there noticed the sparse crowd and the huge police presence.
After the shooting downtown following the Fourth of July fireworks, many people said they were happy to see the large number of officers on patrol.
“I’m just glad to see that they’re actually here; after everything that’s been happening, you can’t be too safe,” Talia Ralicki of Reserve Township said.
“We took the T in from First Street and the minute we got off, you could see the police presence everywhere,” Tony Rivera of Dravosburg said, “and then they had the bag check, which we haven’t seen before.”
“It makes me feel a lot safer knowing that there’s additional officers in place,” Ashley Callen of Stanton Heights said.
Pittsburgh Police won’t say just how many officers were on patrol for the city’s bicentennial events, but officers in uniform could be seen throughout the park as the party went on.
“It’s something to be proud of, that we’ve been around that long,” Ruby Ralicki of Reserve Township said.
“There’s nothing better else to do than come out here and enjoy Pittsburgh. We’re celebrating a birthday, right?” Donna Saunders of the Hill District said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do.”