North Braddock Street Fair

A Tradition Like No Other On Wolfe Avenue

Street Fair Summer Tradition

The North Braddock Volunteer Fire Department Hose Company #1 held their famous street fair on Wolfe Avenue believed to be dated back to 1931. In the early days the fair ran for six days, but was later abbreviated to a four day event.

The North Braddock fire service was volunteer from the time it was created. Street fairs became very popular for a source of income. Residents were earning reasonable salaries mainly in industrial careers, the town was booming, and there was money to patronize the community events. Each ward had it's own street fair at one time. The First Ward street fair survived the longest.

Everyone in the area knew about the North Braddock First Ward fair that attracted many out of town residents. There were evenings when you could barely fit anymore people onto Wolfe Avenue. Patrons had to squeeze their way through the tight crowd to get to their favorite game stand. Good food, variety of games, good prizes, good people, water battles, late night bingo, and much more earned the talk that it was one of the best fairs in the area.

When the three fire companies merged in 2005, the fair continued to be held on Wolfe Avenue. The street fair continued until 2010. The decision was made in 2011 to merge the fair with with the community days event on the North Braddock Heights Field. The event was held at the Heights Field until 2014. The street fair returned to Wolfe Avenue in 2015. The famous water battle returned for the final evening of the street fair in 2015 & 2016.

The street fair is July 26-29, 2017 on Wolfe Avenue. The 7th Annual Fireman's Parade is Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM along Wolfe Avenue.
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NBVFD Street Fair 2017

Wednesday, July 26th, 7pm to Saturday, July 29th, 11pm

1318 Wolfe Ave

Braddock, PA

The North Braddock VFD street fair and fireman's parade will return to Wolfe Avenue. The dates are July 26-29, 2017. The Fireman's Parade is July 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM on Wolfe Avenue.
NORTH BRADDOCK FIRE STREET FAIR 2007

LATE NIGHT BINGO

The bingo stand was one of the most popular and money profiting games at the street fair. Everyone remembers the steel-framed wooden-bench bingo stands that are still owned today by the North Braddock VFD. Lights bulbs dangled over the stands to illuminate the street and bingo cards. Bingo stands lined Wolfe Avenue from Sheridan Street almost to the driveway of the fire station. On busy evenings, bingo players sat on the front porches of the Wolfe Avenue homes & corralled inside the bingo stand to fill extra tables and benches. In the early days, prizes were purchased and bingo winners could select merchandise instead of monetary winnings. There were jackpot full card bingo games & ground prize raffles nightly to finish the evening. No where else known played bingo until near 1:00am in the morning on the final nights. As long as the crowd stayed, the games kept going. Nobody wanted the bingo fun to end in North Braddock, because you knew you had to wait until another July for the fun to return on Wolfe Avenue.

GAMES & PRIZES

Chuck-A-Luck, Money Wheel, Dice Table, Drop Ball, Pick-A-Ticket, & many more games were at the street fair for many years. Older players tested their odds at the gambling games, while younger children wanted to win that daunted prize they saw on display in their favorite game stand. The wheel ticking sound carried into the night with every spin bringing more money into the cash box. The Dice Table was often open just as late or later than the bingo stand. Children hustled home at the end of the night with their prizes like it was Christmas morning. At the end of the night every worker sat down and counted their cash boxes. Some nights you did good, but some nights you wish you could have done better.
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LADIES AUXILIARY FOOD

The Ladies Auxiliary at Hose Company #1 were dedicated women to the North Braddock fire service. Every street fair they served the finest homemade foods that drew large profits for the fair. Customers stood in line to buy their refreshment tickets to cover their favorite foods. Everyone can recall the flowered aprons they wore inside the fire station. Many people still relate growing up in North Braddock to the fair food they enjoyed. Funnel cakes, fried dough, snow cones, Tomanetti pizzas, roasters filled with hot sausage & kielbasa, cheese fries, and more.
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HAYRIDE & FIRE TRUCK RIDES

If you were a kid, you wanted to ride the hayride or old fire squad truck at the fair. Kids would get their ticket and line up near Pallas Street for the next trip. As you got into your teens, you might try to take your favorite girl for a ride through the community. A tradition started when riders chanted "siren, siren, siren," to add some excitement to the ride.

At the end of the street fair it was a tradition for the ladies auxiliary to take a late night hayride around town. The women would pack onto the hayride and sing songs to celebrate the end of a hectic busy fair week.
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WATER BATTLES

The water battles were one of a kind in North Braddock. Most fire departments fought water battles with battle of the barrel, but North Braddock Company #1 wasn't just any fire department. In North Braddock they did it the tough and fun way. Water battling was man on man with hose streams, no battle of the barrel here. Two teams consisting of approximately 4-5 guys each and a coach would take one another on. There were three distanced lines that the teams would advance closer to one another on set intervals of time. North Braddock would host other fire departments in the battles, but the final night always posed the line officers vs. the rookies. Spectators would begin to congregate for the 7:00pm battle. The historic water battles entertained and amazed spectators for decades. As the truck approached on Wolfe Avenue with it's lights and sirens blaring, you knew it was time for the show.
North Braddock Water Battle
North Braddock Water Battle Opening
North Braddock Water Battle 2016: Pitcairn VFD #1 vs. North Braddock VFD
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ROOKIES IN DRAG

The famous tradition to initiate new firefighters into the department was for the rookies to dress as women for the final evening water battle of the street fair. Rookies would dress in their finest garments to be embarrassed in front of the spectators and other department members. In 2007, a group of firefighters that never were officially initiated, carried on the tradition and were dazzling ladies for one night on Wolfe Avenue.
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The rookie dressed women were known to climb aboard the fire engine and parade throughout the community. It was a fun tradition enjoyed by the entire North Braddock community.
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WOLFE AVENUE FIREHOUSE

Fire Station #1 was built in the late 1950's and played a crucial role in every street fair. The building housed all the supplies, kitchen, food sales, and was the firefighter social hall during the busy street fair week.
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COMMUNITY FUN

Parades were held at points throughout the history of the street fair. Parades would often march on Wolfe & Brinton Avenues. Community spectators lined the streets to see the parade participants displayed in the community.

During the street fair week, many neighbors would host guests and have parties. The homes around the street fair were full of neighbors and friends socializing in yards and on porches. The fair was kind of like the official neighborhood party of the summer that brought together the community in North Braddock.

Kacky's Bar on Sheridan Street was known to make their pineapple drinks during the street fair. You would often see patrons sipping their drinks out of the pineapple shell.

1960 FWD ENGINE 1

The FWD Engine saw a lot of street fairs in it's time. The truck pumped many water battle competitions at Wolfe & Sheridan during the street fair. The Engine would often make it's debut at the water battle on Saturday night. Residents recall hearing fair announcements on their street as the old Engine blared it's PA system all throughout first ward. On the final night, the Engine transported the rookie firemen dressed as women & often a special costumed guest for the kids. You can still recall the excitement as you heard the truck's engine and siren in the distance as it approached from Quarry Street. The truck would come into sight at the crest of the hill on Wolfe Avenue with it's lights & sirens blaring. At that point you knew it was time for the water battle. The truck was later retired, sold, and replaced with a 1996 Seagrave fire engine. In 2002, Company #1 celebrated it's 100 year anniversary and the FWD Engine was brought back to make a special appearance in the North Braddock parade.
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North Braddock Network

North Braddock Network is a resident social media group that provides information for community engagement.