State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Labor Day Brings Families Together

by on September 01, 2014 1:54 PM

Sharon Toole says she knew she would be with her family on Labor Day – “but the only question was where.”

She lives near Philidelphia, while her daughter and family live over four hours away in Lebanon, but that wasn’t going to stop them.

Toole says she and her husband Robert had plans to meet their daughter Heather Kasputis, her husband Michael and daughter Katelyn at Blue Marsh Lake over in Reading, Pa. but those plans fell through. 

Even though they were already on the road without a destination, she didn’t panic– her daughter Heather had it under control.

“I literally just googled ‘dog parks,” Heather Kasputis says, gesturing towards Marley – an excitable golden retriever beside her. “So we ended up here [at Tom Tudek Memorial Park] because State College was in the middle for both of us.”

While they were pulling into the parking lot, Michael Kasputis looked out the window and remarked with astonishment to his wife that he had lived in this very neighborhood years ago as a student at Penn State.

“It’s such a huge coincidence,” he says. “I haven’t been here in 10 years. This was just a big, empty field when I was here.”

A decade later, it was the site of a Labor Day lunch under sunny skies before a day of trail walking and hiking. Even though it wasn’t part of the original plan, Heather Kasputis says the whole family had fun – even Marley, who “has never been to a dog park before, and met some new furry friends today.”

They weren’t the only ones who had to make some last minute changes to their Labor Day plans. Ray Regan of State College describes himself as a chronic “last-minute planner,” so when he tried to put together a birthday picnic for his two children, he ran into some minor obstacles along the way.

“We let the family know about the party on Friday, and then we got everything together last night,” Regan says. “The first park we went to was actually full, so we had to move everything.”

After arriving at the Holmes-Foster Park in State College, Morgan Regan slowly got more and more excited. Though she doesn’t turn 11 for another six days -- and her brother Andrew doesn't turn 10 until September 20 -- she was happy for the chance to see her family, who lives scattered around Centre County.

“My aunts and uncles and cousins and friends all came,” Morgan says. “That makes me happy because we only get to see them at certain times.”

She says she wasn’t upset at having to come to a different park than originally planned. As long as she’s outside with her family, she’ll be happy.

“Plus we have confetti cannons and silly string for later, so it looks like this is all going to be pretty good,” Morgan says.


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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