Laying a wreath at the Sister Cities monument in Northampton on Saturday were (l-r) Council President John Yurasits, Hilda (Spitzer) Beale, Dorothy Trinkle, and Mayor Tom Reenock. Photo by Bill Halbfoerster.
A sister cities celebration that began in 1974 was again marked on Saturday as a wreath was placed in front of a monument dedicated to the friendship between two communities thousands of miles apart.
Mayor Tom Reenock of Northampton credited the late Anthony Pany and the Liederkranz Society for starting the celebration that sparked the friendship between the Borough of Northampton and the city of Stegersbach in Burgenland, Austria.
He said, “We must never forget and we must honor that friendship. The culture is important.” Reenock jested that his heritage is of 157 varieties, but is Czechoslovakian/Ukrainian. He noted thanks for the joys of the people in that area in the past and lamented what is going on now in the Ukraine.
Council President John Yurasits thanked the people who came out to keep the tradition going.
This mutual interest between two communities remains alive, but sadly is tapering off in attendance as the older generation itself dwindles.
Mayor Reenock, who has 39 years of service as a member of council and as mayor, recalled how wonderful the visit by local people to Stegersbach was several years ago. They were given a royal welcome with music, food, dancing and tours. As they arrived, they were greeted by a party carrying wine.
He read a proclamation for Saturday’s celebration, and then a wreath was placed in front of the monument along Laubach Ave. that was first dedicated on July 15, 1990. Another monument was dedicated on July 13, 2002. Taking part, along with the Mayor, were Council President John Yurasits and two ladies, Hilda (Spitzer) Beale and Dorothy Trinkle.
The Coplay Saengerbund Chorus sang Austrian music, accompanied by Joe Weber on the accordion.
Usually, the formal event there is followed by refreshments and music in the municipal park, but because of a forecast of rain, it was held in the fire station on Lerchenmiller Drive. The Joe Weber Orchestra played music for dancing and ethnic foods were prepared by the firemen.