Tyrone, Blair County, Pa- The Labor Day holiday is designed as a yearly day-off for hard workers throughout the nation. But the Tyrone community uses the day to bring neighbors together.
It’s an annual picnic more than 50 years old, and still going strong… because of the people who work for free on a day they’re supposed to have off.
One look at the parking lot in Reservoir Park and you know it’s the place to be on Labor Day. It’s tough to find a spot for your car… and sometimes tougher to find an open space to eat…. but folks in Tyrone are prepared.
“They’ll be here at 8 or 9 in the morning, putting their blankets out so they get a spot at the table,” said Tammy Emigh, Chairperson for Rib Dinners on Labor Day.
The picnic features home cooking and a talent show. But, for many like 74-year-old Carl White, who’s been at the gathering since he was boy, the importance of the day is simple.
“This is one time of the year when everyone gets to see one another once again… the camaraderie is really at it’s peak,” White, the Tyrone native said.
With young and old sitting together talking, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone glued to their cellphones. The only thing people get stuck in is good conversation.
The event is made possible by the local Woman’s Club, Rotary Club, and Boy Scout troop… who put in some labor on labor day.
“In Tyrone everything’s volunteer which is mostly what our town’s made of…. like this get together today. This is all volunteer, no one is paid to do this,” White said.
And locals wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It helps hold a community together. I think when we spend time together and share a meal shoulder-to-shoulder…. instead of going through life nose-to-nose… I think this brings us together instead of dividing us,” said Cummins McNitt, Committee Chair for Troop 103 from Bald Eagle.
Many hope McNitt’s message will resonate with the youth in this small, but connected borough.
White urged them: “Keep it going… keep it going. Don’t quit. The younger generation is what we’re looking for to keep this town Tyrone going.”