In honor of Perry Como’s 100th birthday today, the statue of him that sits outside of the was dressed for the occasion with a birthday hat and festive lei.
Canonsburg Mayor David T. Rhome kicked off the two-day celebration with a cake cutting ceremony following the "Happy Birthday" song for the hometown barber-turned-crooner, led by local vocalist Tom Terling on the stage.
The marble cake with white buttercream icing was donated by and people lined up to get a piece before it was gone.
Born Pierino Ronald Como on May 18, 1912, the Canonsburg native, whose first career was as a barber, was a singer and television personality during a career spanning more than half a century.
Vendors of food, clothing, jewelry, local services and memorabilia are set up and open for business.
Perry’s Playland consists of several huge inflatables and is located in the Luksis Parking Lot. Young children downtown for the afternoon got a chance to try them out before the larger crowds come down when school lets out.
“We had a good crowd here for a noon opening,” said Nadeen Steffey, Canonsburg’s Main Street manager and chair of the festival. Octoberfest and other events have traditionally started later on a weekday.
It was announced by 1 p.m. that two of the six Perry Como CDs available had already sold out and the hats, T-shirts, and other Como and Four Coins CDs were going fast.
Festival coordinators also reported that they have already seen visitors who have traveled from places such as New York City; Buffalo, NY; and Canada—and they expect to see more tourists throughout the weekend.
Frank LoVullo of Buffalo, NY, traveled here because he has always been huge fan of Como.
“In 1987, I shook hands with him at Melody Fair in Tonawanda, NY, and have seen him play two other times,” he said.
The Hot Diggity Dog Days celebration continues until 8 p.m. Friday and runs from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.