Beanery Online Literary Magazine

July 2, 2011

Tourism in Brownsville, Pennsylvania

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

TOURISM IN BROWNSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA

Mark Sliwa

NOTE: This event occurred in 2000.

     The plain white flyer came in the mail, folded twice and secured by a staple. It was an invitation to the Western Pennsylvania Machine Gun Association’s spring shoot. $5.00 admission and they’d have hotdogs and Pepsi too. Reservations required. I made the phone call and signed up for two thinking this would be a great lunch date for my girlfriend.

     Brownsville, Pennsylvania, was the site for this festival. Sadly, it is a city that has long been in the dire straits of a poor economy. Getting off the highway and into downtown, plywood panels cover many windows on Main Street’s business district. Destitute figures lean in shady doorways. The architecture itself still inspires. Before the collapse of the steel industry this must have been a vibrant place. Time does march on though and some places don’t keep step.

     The flyer’s directions said go south down Main Street, then at the edge of town go three clicks further, and make a left on an unmarked dirt road. It looked like we were headed straight into a DMZ. The dirt road was there and pulling out of the entrance was rural America’s staff car of choice: the ratty old pickup truck. Two sketchy looking occupants were in the cab; local security I assumed. A metal tag adorned the truck’s grill: Western Pennsylvania Machine Gun Association. They must be (more…)