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AK Steel throws big party

By Thomas Gnau

You have to hand it to AK Steel Corp.: This company knows how to throw a party.

And the party continues this year, this time from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday near AK headquarters, 703 Curtis St., Middletown. It’s free and all are invited.

The steelmaker isn’t straying far from what by now is a tried-and-true formula. Vintage cars, vintage music, family fun, culminating in symphonic excitement and fireworks, are all on the agenda.

A fun way to end the Labor Day weekend, in other words.

“We just encourage everyone to come out and have a good time,” said Alan McCoy, AK’s vice president of public affairs.

The celebration has a short but honorable history: On Labor Day weekend 2000, the company celebrated 100 years of steelmaking in Middletown, dedicated a new stainless steel canopy at the AK Pavilion on Bicentennial Commons, threw open the Middletown Works hot strip mill and electrogalvanizing line to tours and more. Bands and the Middletown Symphony Orchestra performed, and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks put on a show to remember.

Middletown liked what it saw, and residents said so — in droves, McCoy said.

“I quit counting how many comments on the fireworks we received,” he said.

AK hosted another celebration last year. While there are no guarantees, if the celebrations continue to seem right for the community and the company, they could continue, McCoy said.

There are no plant tours this year — McCoy called them “a monumental effort” — but there will be a health fair, featuring screenings on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

George Matthew Verity started the American Rolling Mill Co. in 1899, and McCoy said members of the Verity family are always welcome. AK has extended an invitation to grandson Bill Verity, today in his 80s, to attend Monday’s celebration, but it wasn’t certain earlier this week whether he would be on hand, McCoy said.

A line-up of classic cars is expected to cruise in. Children will enjoy the magicians, clowns, face-painting, inflatable attractions and more.

The music — a fun sampling of acts from the ‘60s — starts at 4 p.m.

The Middletown Symphony will be set to perform at 7:15 p.m.

And the sky will light up with fireworks, courtesy of Rozzi’s, beginning at 8:45 p.m.

No alcohol is permitted. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Refreshments and soft drinks will be sold.

Parking will be available at Taft and McKinley elementary schools, Barnitz Stadium and an adjacent lot on Curtis between Forest and Girard avenues.



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