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Homecoming weekend extends beyond the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus and results in a lot of generated income for local businesses.
“We usually get four to five times our normal weekend crowd,” said co-owner of Steel City Samiches and Twisted Jimmy’s, Mike Lang.
This weekend, IUP draws in crowds of thousands to the area with events like the annual parade and football game, alumni reunions and community events.
This is the fifth homecoming for Steel City, a sandwich bar and grill, and the second for the new add-on bar, Twisted Jimmy’s.
This weekend special adjusted hours mean Twisted Jimmy’s will open at 10 a.m. for the after-parade crowd. Both Friday and Saturday nights, Twisted Jimmy’s will close at 2 a.m., while Steel City will remain open until 4 a.m.
With such large crowds, the management is sure to have everyone on staff working this weekend.
“On a normal night, we have maybe five security guards,” Lang said, “but during homecoming weekend we will have 12.”
Business owner Mike Coy, of Coy’s Grille on Philadelphia Street, is not so concerned with security.
“I don’t sell alcohol so I don’t have very many issues with security,” Coy said. “The police usually handle things if ever necessary.”
Coy does expect a crowd but has seen a decline in the past few years.
“The last few years the weather has been an issue, but there is still a considerable difference,” Coy said.
Coy’s will maintain their normal hours of operation, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and they will also continue their delivery services as well.
Romeo’s Pizzeria and Mediterranean Kitchen on Oakland Avenue will stop taking orders at 3 a.m. but will continue to operate until all orders are filled, assistant manager Jim Bishop said.
“We are increasing production right now,” Bishop said Wednesday, “just making sure we have all of our regular items prepped so things run smoothly this weekend.”
Romeo’s has been open for more than a decade and has seen its share of homecoming weekends. The business has learned to expect large waves of people to come in after Saturday’s homecoming parade.
“It ends right up the road from us so we get a really large crowd, so things have to be moving really quickly,” Bishop said.
For those who want to enjoy the nice weather outside after the parade, The Coney’s outside patio area is one option.
“We’re definitely looking forward to nice weather,” owner Tim McQuaide said. “It will be a nice change from the last four years.”
The Coney is an 80-year-old establishment, located on Philadelphia Street, which McQuaide thinks makes it one of the more recognizable establishments in Indiana.
While excited for the weekend, McQuaide noted that he has seen a decline in the number of returning alumni these past few years.
“I think people aren’t as interested,” McQuaide said. “Not as many alumni come back, and it seems like the town’s on lockdown.”
Either way, The Coney is all geared up for homecoming and will be hosting alumni parties both Friday and Saturday in the space upstairs.
As for any security issues, McQuaide said that he has a good staff and that The Coney is “probably the most secure bar.”