Carnegie Science Centre unveils Gus & Yiayia’s cart in railroad exhibit

With unseasonable temperatures climbing to 70 degrees, Wednesday was a great day for the unveiling of an ice ball cart.

The Carnegie Science Middle on Pittsburgh’s North Shore showcased its most current addition — Gus & Yiayia’s Ice Ball Cart — to be added to the Miniature Railroad & Village.

The common shiny orange cart with the rainbow-coloured umbrella has been a staple at West Park on the North Facet considering the fact that 1934. Now the tiny reproduction will be a mainstay at the science middle show, which reopens Thursday.

The true cart is however run by Gus Kalaris of Brighton Heights. He celebrated functioning the enterprise for 7 decades this summertime.

“This is so thrilling,” Kalaris stated at the science heart show preview. “It’s like successful the Super Bowl and being handed the (Vince) Lombardi Trophy or successful an Academy Award. Who honors a avenue vendor? Normally individuals cuss at avenue distributors.”

Kalaris was picked due to the fact the ice ball cart is beloved in Pittsburgh, reported Jason Brown, the Carnegie Science Center’s director. He said Kalaris spends 12 hours, 7 days a week serving ice balls and smiles in the spring, summer season and into early tumble.

He gives cost-free ice balls to men and women who just cannot afford a single, Brown claimed. The cart is a perfect quit for a first day.

“We are making certain the loved ones legacy of Gus & Yiayia’s will be listed here all yr spherical,” Brown reported.


Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Assessment

The Carnegie Science Center debuted its latest model, Gus & Yiayia’s ice ball stand, at Miniature Railroad & Village on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. The product celebrates the loved ones-owned business enterprise, which has operated on the North Side since 1934.


The organization started with George and Pauline, who marketed popcorn, peanuts and “ice balls” — flavored shaved-ice treats — commencing in 1934. Gus Kalaris and his late wife, Stella, took over the cart in 1951.

The initial Yiayia — a time period for “grandmother” in Greek — was Gus’ mother Pauline, nevertheless the honorific was later on offered to Stella. Stella loved remaining about children so considerably that the spouse and children recognized the once-a-year Stella Kalaris scholarship just after her loss of life in 2016.

Gus Kalaris, who turns 90 in January, said each individual Pittsburgh mayor has stopped by the cart as properly as councilmen and condition legislators. The late Dan Rooney was a typical. Persons would ask Rooney for his autograph. Kalaris would hand Rooney a popcorn box and a sharpie. Rooney and Kalaris were being born the same calendar year, 1932.

Patty Everly, curator of historic reveals at the science middle, stated it is about shining a light on Pittsburgh and the “beautiful orange cart,” which has historic significance. It will honor the challenging perform of him and his family members.

A 3-D printer was used to style and design the piece — designed by Nino Balistrieri, an show technician for the science centre. It has a determine of Kalaris and shoppers, like young children. There is a block of ice, popcorn and peanuts and bottles of flavoring — a combine of basic syrup with food coloring and extract.

Kalaris’ parents would convey him to West Park as a newborn. He slept in a blanket on one particular of the benches. He was 8 decades outdated when he first assisted. Kalaris’ real initially title is August. He changed it to Gus.

Originally designed by Charles Bowdish in 1919, the Miniature Railroad & Village chronicles Western Pennsylvania before the 1940s, together with such prominent landmarks as the Pittsburgh Courier, Fallingwater, Forbes Subject and the entry arch of Luna Park.

The exhibit acquired new grass and h2o as nicely as a dance corridor and a two-headed cow to The Demonstrate of Residing Wonders. There is a circus parade through the city, showcasing elephants, giraffes, zebras and a camel.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Bell duplicate has been extra to symbolize the starting of Pennsylvania’s railroad background. A video display broadcasts a feed from a camera mounted on just one of the trains.

“This cart is quintessential Pittsburgh,” Everly reported. “It’s this sort of a portion of, and the coronary heart of, this group. It signifies what Pittsburgh is.”


Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Assessment

Gus Kalaris points to a model of his family’s organization, Gus & Yiayia’s ice ball stand, at the Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Middle on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. The science centre debuted the product of the enterprise, which has operated on the North Side given that 1934.


The miniature cart is close to an edge so people can get a very good watch. It sits near a park and the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Property.

Kalaris’ daughter, Penny Pefanis, of Stirling, N.J., reported the place is ideal.

“He is so thrilled and honored and humbled,” she reported. “My father treats all people effectively. I enjoy that the cart is subsequent to the Mister Rogers’ home. Fred Rogers was genuine, and my dad is truly reliable.”

Kalaris, a father of two, strategies to deliver his four grandchildren and one particular excellent-grandchild. He stood upcoming to the railroad in awe.

“I could not consider it when they questioned me to be part of this,” Kalaris explained. “It appears to be like accurately the way it is in actual lifetime. How do they do that?“

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Critique team author. You can make contact with JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .