It is that time of year when people from the North Side come together as one at the North Side Oldtimers Reunion at West Park. People from Brighton, Northview Heights, Manchester and other areas came together as a family to celebrate each other’s company.
Children played a very important part in how the weekend began as they led a march for peace starting at Columbus Middle School, kindergarten through eighth grade.
|OLDTIMERS REUNION COMMITTEE—In back from left: James Arms, James Herring, Fred “Scrappy” Bulls and John Arms. Front from left: Flo Wilson and Mildred Tyler.
“This way, they become friends by the time they are 14 and 15 years of age. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood they are from when you are doing something positive,” said Fred “Scrappy” Bulls, a member of the organizing committee. “We take them skating and we have football. We also are planning a trip to the Smithsonian Institute for the fall. We are just trying to bring people together because we don’t want to be possible gang bangers tomorrow. Since we are all from different parts of the North Side, we are trying to let these young people see how we get along. If the old folks can do it, so can you.”
As usual North Side residents from all over the country came back to attend the reunion. They number in the thousands and it gives them something to do each and every year. Last year the reunion had about 8,000 people overall.
“We tried to bring them together from all 19 neighborhoods while they are 7, 8 and 9 years old. They get a chance to meet each other. So when they get to be teenagers and get to that gang age, they can say that’s my buddy Jeff and he is from Northview Heights or that’s my buddy Bob from Manchester. They will already know each other. We try to bring them together all year around,” Bulls said.
This gathering was more like a family reunion for all the residents in attendance.
Political officials, singers and other high profile people were in attendance to show their support for the community.
“It is always important when we can get the community together to share experiences and relax and enjoy each others company,” state Rep. Jake Wheatley said. “The violence and community conflicts are minimized when you have events such as this one. Everyone from Brighton, Manchester, Northview Heights and other neighborhood on the North Side are all here having a great time.”.
“It is important to have an event like this because there was a time when people were scared to come out of their own homes. This event takes that away and helps ease the tension. It’s a happy event and people can sit out on their fronts and enjoy their neighborhoods again” said singer and committee woman Flo Wilson of the Old School Band.
Businessman Jamie Younger, who is a part of the All Alumni Reunion for the North Side was in attendance. He also is the owner of Young Brother’s Bar in the heart of the North Side where everyone comes out to have a great time.
“It is important to have the Old Timers Reunion because the North Side has one of the biggest communities in the city of Pittsburgh. There are about 14 to 20 neighborhoods on the North Side and they don’t all get along so this chance for four or five generations of people to come together. This is a way for people to get to know each other because the guy that you were thinking about going to shoot can now be your friend,” said Younger.