census 2020

Nancy Noszka, development consultant for Brightwood Civic Group, speaks on the power of collaboration.

By Ashlee Green

Photo: Residents from Marshall-Shadeland and Brighton Heights march in costume during this year’s Halloween parade on Oct. 26. Courtesy of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation

The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation and Brightwood Civic Group joined forces this year on their longstanding annual fall Halloween parade and Pumpkinfest. Northside Chronicle Managing Editor Ashlee Green talked with Nancy Noszka, development consultant for Brightwood Civic Group, to ask about the collaboration.

The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation joined forces with the Brightwood Civic Group on Oct. 26 for a Halloween parade and Pumpkinfest. Courtesy of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation

Northside Chronicle: What was the inspiration behind the two community groups, Brighton Heights Citizens Federation and Brightwood Civic Group, collaborating on their annual fall events this year?

Nancy Noszka: Most people come to both. We decided it would be a good day to collaborate. It was more for the kids, so that the kids could enjoy the day. There are so many volunteers that put efforts into both days that it just made sense to combine them.

NSC: What neighbors were part of this joint effort?

NN: The neighborhoods of Marshall-Shadeland, which is Brightwood Civic Group, and Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, which represents the City of Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brighton Heights. Most of the kids go to Morrow Elementary School, which is in Brighton Heights. There’s a bridge that connects the two neighborhoods on Shadeland Avenue, and we marched across that bridge, which is somewhat symbolic. Traditionally, people have fears about crossing the bridge either way, so it’s a way to tie the two neighborhoods together.

NSC: What activities were available for kids and family during the event?

NN: We had pony rides, a balloon sculptor, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, a bouncy house, face painting by Cheryl Capezzuti, and a free lunch. Venture Outdoors came and they did two activities: One was a bicycle rodeo and the other was bicycle bowling. We had candy bags and raffle prizes. Walmart in Gibsonia donated four bikes this year and we raffled them off for free.

This was the 29th annual event. I raised the funds from local vendors and elected officials. WesBanco was the major sponsor this year and so was Highmark. We purchased the food, and this year we hired a local caterer and he brought his grill. His name is James Reed. He sets up daily at Young Brothers Bar. Johanna’s Garden gave out flowers this year. She owns a flower shop on Shadeland Avenue in Marshall-Shadeland.

I didn’t go to the parade itself, but I understand that it was well-attended. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was there.

NSC: Anything new or exciting outside of the combination of parade and festival?

NN: We had a food truck this year for the first time: Mac & Gold food truck, and we had a baking contest.

NSC: Who won the baking contest and what was their pie?

NN: The winner made a strawberry shortcake. We gave cash prizes: $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third prize. Councilwoman Darlene Harris was the judge. We had four entries, we’d like to do more next year.

NSC: Will the dual event be planned again for next year?

NN: Yes, we plan on doing it next year as well. We’d like to make sure, as far as next year, that we have more people watching the parade and entering the baking contest. We did get a One Northside mini-grant, which helped to fund the event. Thank you to everyone that volunteered.