Unorthodoxly iconic

Some Burghers are famous intentionally/understandably. Newscasters. Mayors. Athletes. Actors. DJs.

Some are famous because here in Pittsburgh we love to latch on to ordinary but unique Burghers and say to the world, “This one’s ours and that’s why we’re awesome.” We celebrate their uniqueness and elevate them to local cult status.

The Running Lady.

TC Congdon.

Vic Cianca.

Sax guy.

Jeff Jimerson.

And this one, Kenny Geidel, the Cotton Candy/Lemonade guy at PNC Park.

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After rumors began spreading this morning, the Pirates confirmed that Kenny died at the too young age of 63 due to an intestinal infection.

His death brings to mind this Pittsburgh Magazine post of mine from when Vic Cianca died, about how so much attention to these types of Burghers comes from their way of doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways:

I still learn from Mr. Cianca and other unorthodoxly iconic ‘Burghers. I learn to keep my eyes open to regular folks who are spending their lives doing seemingly ordinary things, and to look for the extraordinary hidden therein.  And when I find it, acknowledge it. Applaud it. Celebrate it.

Rest easy, Kenny. May heaven be filled with people bringing YOU lemonade and cotton candy.


  1. jamie
    May 10, 2011 1:29 pm

    i was wondering where he was last night at the game when i saw another vendor selling the lemonade. he was one of my absolute favorite vendors at PNC Park. RIP!

  2. empirechick
    May 10, 2011 1:38 pm

    Sax man’s name is Reggie – I decided we needed to be on a first name basis a couple years ago when I saw him at a Pirate game, Pens game, and the circus all within a week. Hardest working busker in town!

  3. rickh
    May 10, 2011 1:56 pm

    He was the best. At Three Rivers he sold Coke (Coke Here!) with a voice that would reach everywhere. And it was great hearing his call when listening to the Bucs on the radio.

    Rest in Peace Kenny. You will be missed.

  4. Just A Simple Man
    May 10, 2011 2:06 pm

    A true Pittsburgh experience. Rest in peace Mr. Geidel.

  5. Rege
    May 10, 2011 2:09 pm

    They come in threes. Hopefully T.C’s health is in order.

  6. Burgh Bird
    May 10, 2011 2:17 pm

    Rege- When TC passes away, they’ll have to hold the viewing at Heinz Field- it’s the only place big enough for all the people that will want to say goodbye.

  7. Nate
    May 10, 2011 2:23 pm

    I agree Rick – even when I was not @ the ballgame, I’d listen on the radio and could always make out T.C.’s whistle & Mr. Geidel’s “Lemonade Here” … what is even worse – the Buccos are probably playing their best all-around baseball in a good 15 years and he won’t be here to experience it … sad news indeed.

  8. Scott
    May 10, 2011 2:41 pm

    The Lemonade Guy was one of my wife and my favorite part of going to Pirates and Penguins games. We were sorry to see this news today.

  9. Bulldog
    May 10, 2011 2:42 pm

    R.I.P Kenny. I’m just another regular guy that’s going to miss you at the ball park.

  10. Andrea
    May 10, 2011 2:55 pm

    Oh my. We just saw him Sunday. I commented that his tray must be so heavy in carrying those lemonades. He will be missed. My kids are still at school.. they will be so sad.

  11. Dan (Not Onorato)
    May 10, 2011 3:09 pm

    RIP Kenny….youll be missed.

  12. Cool Hand Nuke
    May 10, 2011 3:33 pm

    Mr Rogers tied his shoes all weird. BAM! Famous.

  13. Kristie
    May 10, 2011 3:41 pm

    RIP Lemonade Guy.

  14. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    May 10, 2011 3:56 pm

    Six people just sent this too me. I’m sad. Kenny was a gem. For two summers (86 and 87), I worked at 3RS (I was responsible for washing the vendors and concession stand workers uniforms.) This is really sad news. I saw him this weekend and we chatted briefly.

  15. AngryMongo
    May 10, 2011 3:59 pm

    Was he the same one who would just yell out random things like, “FRUIT SALAD!” as he went down the aisles?

    These are the people that show all us regular office schlubs what it means to enjoy a job and do it well, regardless of how far up the corporate ladder they are.

  16. Joe K.
    May 10, 2011 4:11 pm

    RIP Kenny. I guess you never know the day or the hour. Since he started in the mid 80’s that means he’s been at ball games for as long as I’ve been going to them, which will make it strange the next time I go because his voice seemed like as much a part of the game as the national anthem and seventh inning stretch.

  17. unsatisfied
    May 10, 2011 4:55 pm

    I think that the succos should add a patch of a glass of lemonade on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

    RIP, kenny. hope that the lemon-AAAAAAAAAADE in heaven is nice and fresh for ya.

  18. YinzerInExile
    May 10, 2011 6:47 pm

    I am SO SAD. You will be missed, Lemonade Guy. <3

  19. bluzdude
    May 10, 2011 7:27 pm

    Awww, too bad. Another piece of Pittsburghia gone.

    Maybe it was the Buccos breaking .500 that did it to him…

  20. Smith
    May 10, 2011 10:18 pm

    He is synonymous with my earliest Pirates memories at 3 Rivers. We will miss you “Coke’ere” guy!

  21. LisaB
    May 10, 2011 10:31 pm

    OMG. He was our “Cotton candy here!” guy at Mellon Arena for the Pens. I can’t believe he’s gone!

  22. bucdaddy
    May 11, 2011 12:25 am

    That reminds me: Whatever happened to Beaujacques?

  23. George
    May 11, 2011 8:17 am

    May you rest in peace Kenny. You will be sorely missed.
    Now it is your turn to have someone bring you a nice tall cold lemonade and some yummy cotton candy, while you relax.