What’s poppin’? Southwestern Pennsylvanians celebrate National Popcorn Day News

For those who love popcorn, the oldest, arguably healthiest and most versatile snack on the planet, National Popcorn Day, celebrated Jan. 19, is one of the first fun holidays of the year.

“Everybody grows up with it. Everybody goes to the movies, gets their bucket of popcorn,” said Addio Fiordigigli, who opened Ekernally Yours popcorn in Charleroi six years ago. “When you smell popcorn, it’s just happiness.”

Fiordigigli is sharing that puffy, sweet or savory happiness with customers on Jan. 19, when the storefront at 119 State Street in Upper Speers will spill over with Ekernally Yours’ wide variety of flavors (including its best-selling dill pickle, cheddar cheese and peanut butter chocolate varieties) for the tasting. Folks are invited to sample popped-and-coated kernels and try their luck at larger-than-life raffles throughout the day.

“We make a six-foot tall bag of popcorn,” said Fiordigigli. “It’s about five gallons of popcorn. We’ll do a raffle and give away a couple of those. We’ll do some online specials as well, discounts, coupons.”

Folks can score Ekernally Yours deals online at www.ekernallyyours.com.

Ken Zeff, who opened Fancypants Popcorn along Butler Street in Pittsburgh in 2020, is also marking the occasion with $1 shipping for all online orders — place yours at www.fancypantspopcorn.com — and an in-store treat.

“It’s like a holiday,” said Zeff. “If you come into the store, you’ll get a free small bag of our Shakey Style popcorn, with is like movie theater popcorn, with any purchase.”

Popcorn Willy, a staple along Washington’s North Main Street, is also celebrating the not-so-corny holiday. Folks who stop into Popcorn Willy (which offers a large selection of popcorn, lunches, desserts and a poppin’ monthly popcorn subscription) on National Popcorn Day will enjoy the buy two, get one free popcorn bag deal.

The pop-pop of kernels transforming into fluffy puffs of snacking goodness aren’t too loud for local libraries, which are hosting National Popcorn Day events.

Citizens Library in Washington has strung together a day’s worth of fun for all, and folks are invited to drop in for “pop” up story time, craft activities and a popcorn basket drawing.

“We ordered a backdrop for photo ops. It has a giant box of popcorn on it, it’s really cute,” said Diane Ambrose, director of Citizens Library, noting that this is the library’s first National Popcorn Day celebration. “It’s fun. It makes people happy.”

Ambrose and her staff will display a carefully-curated selection of popcorn-themed books, and folks are welcome to enjoy free popcorn — just be sure to wipe your hands before leafing through the pages of your next read.

Chartiers-Houston Library is also buttering up for a festive event, although plans had not been solidified as of press time. Feel free to check out the library’s calendar events online at www.washlibs.org/chartiers-houston or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CHCLIBRARY.

Peters Township Recreation Center is also hosting a poppin’ event from 3 to 5 pm on Jan. 19. Kids ages three to five are invited, along with a chaperone, to play games and enjoy a popcorn bar. Cost is $5 for members, $8 for non-members, and registration by Jan. 17 is required to ensure enough fun and treats are available.

“Our preschool programs right now are doing really well, they’re booking up so fast. We only have a few spots left for this program,” said Kristen Martin, recreation supervisor for Peters Township. “We’re excited. I’m sure it’ll be poppin’.”

Martin said activities include a popcorn relay race, a dancing popcorn experiment and an a-maize-ing craft.

“Our craft is pretty cute. We’re going to do little stampers, kind of like Bingo stampers, out of popcorn and paint,” Martin said. “I’m excited to see how the kids decorate. It’ll be cute.”

With all that fun, National Popcorn Day attendees will certainly work up an appetite, and Martin said a popcorn bar will offer several flavors and mix-ins, like M&Ms.

“They kind of just pick what they want to put in with their popcorn,” she said.

Save your spot online at www.peterstownship.com or call 724-942-5000.

As the day draws closer, more events may pop up, so check your library’s event calendar or your favorite eatery’s Facebook page for last-minute National Popcorn Day celebrations or deals.

Popcorn is one of those foods that everybody loves. Nobody says anything bad about any popcorn,” said Zeff. “You can get popcorn at the movie theater and it’s great. You can make popcorn at home and it’s great. You can get popcorn at an independent popcorn store and it’s all great.”

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