Off the Wall, September 14, 2017

Most people know that I have a way with words. Lately, I came up with a combo of making people smile with the expression of “supendously fantabulous. It may sound a bit crazy, but when it comes right down to it, if it makes others grin, then use it.

Broken down, “supendously” means “super splendidly” and “fantabulous,” “fantastically fabulous.” Most individuals tell me they could never repeat that, but since I now have it written down for the sake of clarity, then it should be a snap to spill off the tongue.

When one is greeted, “How are you today?” the answer is right there – “supendously fantabulous.” The stresses of others will be released if only for a few seconds and a chuckle or even a laugh may result.

Well, I got to thinking about the 2017 5th Anniversary of the Banana Split Festival and how I found it to be the best celebration of all the five years and decided we must have a word that is fitting to this year’s event.

I put my brain cells together and came up with ”splitanious!” “How was this year year’s festival?” Sarah Dohopple of Whitney asked me. I didn’t have to go into a five hundred dissertation. My one ‘word’ said it all – “splitanious!”

Just think if we could make that a slogan for next year’s event. How cool would that be?

Anyway, I have to state “Kudus to the large committee that turned a planned get-together into an event I’ll long remember.

As a seventy-four year-old man, I wasn’t sure I’d get anything out by attending all three days. But quite the opposite. I’m not the only one saying it, but all I talked to agreed with me that this was the best festival of the five.

I don’t feel ‘fun’ like I used to in my earlier stages of life. But Friday, Saturday and Sunday had me smiling from ear to ear.

Since I can’t eat banana splits and most of the prepared food there because of being on a stringent diet, I can’t say those tasty treats prepared by Dairy Queen or Valley Dairy actually sweetened my weekend. I think it was the fact that there was always some form of music, staged or otherwise that really held the whole festivity together.

As I stood on Main Street between a lemonade stand and a French fry booth, the feeling came over me that I was actually on vacation, maybe at Cape May or some beach far away from Latrobe.

On the other hand how cool could it be that Cape May was actually sharing its ‘wealth’ by being in the tourist community of Latrobe. The whole weekend was a ‘wow’ weekend for me!

There is no way to explain the excellence of performance of Bridget and Bobby Acoustic Sessions duo who sang songs out of the past as well as the present. As I stood moving to the beat in the directions my head swayed, I watched a Channel 11 cameraman sneak around the corner and videotape them singing. Afterward, he came up to me and stated, “Boy are they good.”

But’s that’s the is way it went for the whole weekend – “splitanious!”

But if one really loved rock music as I have ever since the 50’s, I don’t even think “splitanious” would qualify. Big Atlantic, under the direction of Lee Caruso, Jr., another hometown great that has put Latrobe on the map, performed like no other, showing his skills with his vocals and finger-work on his guitar who I think is just as good as Pink Floyd, a master of this form of music. It was a triple “wow” moment for me.

All in all, I know it took a lot of planning and much work to make sure everything went off smoothly – and it did.

I also have to add, gratitude must be extended to the Latrobe Police Department’s officers and those under their directions that kept things in order and running smoothly as well.

As I strolled about up and Main and Ligonier Streets, I’d often stop and put forth the question my parents asked me in my growing up years – “Are you sufficiently nourished?” I never received a negative answer – mostly an outburst of laughter. That said more to me than any number of words, in my opinion.

Watching all having fun, relaxing, and spending money proved again that the committee had achieved their goals and deserve a pat on their backs.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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