26 Things You ONLY Understand If You Are From Erie, PA

26 Things You ONLY Understand If You Are From Erie, PA

Pepperoni Balls & Smith's Please!

"It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what has changed is you.

That is a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

For me, this explains my feelings of home come from Erie, Pennsylvania.

I have long since uprooted my life and moved to the Sunshine State (that's a story for a different day) and traded my car snow shovel in for a permanent beach bag, but nothing can make you feel the way Erie can.

You really know you're from Erie, PA when...

1. Smith's Hotdogs are the Only Appropriate Hotdog.

You had to know this was going to be high on the list! I never knew that practically anywhere else in the country hotdogs are pretty much the worst food product out there, I was raised on cooking your hotdog till the casing popped and that they're appropriate for just about any occasion.

Pro Tip: If you freeze them, you can take them in your carry-on, pass TSA pretty much flawlessly, and they'll stay in perfect condition through a flight to Florida.

2. You Refer to Erie Pennsylvania as "Erie, PA."

You would never say "Boston, MA" or "Tampa, FL," you would pronounce it "Tampa, Florida." I bet you never even realized you did that.

3. Sara's Opening Is a Huge Family Affair.

Everyone get in the car, Orange/Vanilla twist is calling our names.

4. Peach St Traffic Makes You Reconsider Your Location.

Everything and anything you need can be found on about a 5 mile stretch on Peach St., which is great except you can't find anything comparable to those stores for about 40 miles so everyone's fighting for two lanes to get to that Texas Roadhouse.

5. You Drink at Clubs.

No, not like the party DJ type clubs, private clubs... VFW, South Erie, Sunflower, Cascade, Kahkwa, they're literally everywhere and they usually have THE BEST food & drinks.

6. Wegmans is Your Exclusive Grocery Experience.

Publix is amazing and all, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing like a Wegmans trip.

7. You're Pretty Much a Chocolate Connoisseur.

Chocolatiers, chocolatiers everywhere! Pulako's will always have my heart - Chocolate covered strawberries and a solid chocolate motorcycle please! It's like Easter everyday!

8. You Have Planned Every Halloween Costume to Have Two Versions.

One with your winter coat and boots. And one without. Snow in October is a thing people.

9. You're Either Steelers, Bills or Browns.

Until this year... You better be a damn proud Steelers fan! #ConnerStrong

10. You Have Had or Attended a Stag and Drag.

These things don't exist everywhere and I'm here to tell you I'm kinda super upset!

11. Fuhrman's is Your Go-To First Fall Stop.

Apple pie, apple cider, apple wine, apple fritter.... I need it all!

12. Waldameer is A Magical Place of Dippin' Dots and the Wacky Shack Smell.

Don't ask me why, but to this day I will try to describe something as "smelling like the wacky shack" and only people from Erie will get it.

13. You're Also Pry a Wine Connoisseur.

Well, to be honest you're pry an alcohol connoisseur (we gotta keep warm somehow!), but the smell of grapes in season is a welcoming reminder to head to the wineries.

14. You Are One With Nature.

Whether it's Asbury woods, Presque Isle, or straight up fighting the elements in 18 pounds of winter gear, you and nature go wayyyy back.

15. "The Gorge" is Your Summertime Escape.

If you're from the east-side you know there's nothing like grabbing your pup and scaling down to the gorge and taking a dip in the "whirlpool".

16. The Fish & The Frogs.

Am I the only one with binders full of maps and pictures of myself in front of every single frog and fish statue?

17. You Remember Your First Drive-In Movie & That's About How You Saw Every Movie Until About 2003.

One day we went to the flea market, then Waldameer, got McDonald's, then saw Tarzan in the Drive-In. That right there was a #Momwin.

18. One Minute You're Driving Past Horses, The Next You're In a Huge Plaza With Just About Anything You Could Need.

I'm looking at you East-side Millcreek and your fancy new Harborcreek Giant Eagle.

19. Drive-Thru Beer Stores Are Totally A Thing.

They're not everywhere! I was utterly disappointed when I turned 21 in Florida and couldn't drive up and grab a case a beer or even purchase alcohol before noon on Sundays! Erie allows us to drink on the streets legally and all I can say is CHEERS TO THAT!

20. You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Pepperoni Balls.

I moved to Florida thinking my life was about to be flawless.... and then I found out pizza balls were an Erie exclusive.... *initiate withdraws from Teresa's now*

21. Ox Roast is Only an Erie Thing Also...

Yeah Ox Roast is only in Erie.... Don't go asking for that at your local Publix...

22. Prep Vs McDowell is The Ultimate Showdown.

McDowell, McDowell Hey!

23. The Best Rumrunner on Earth is Located at.... Drumroll Please.... Rumrunner's!

Nothing will top a Rumrunner from Rumrunners. Ironically it was founded during a time of prohibition with Canadian liquor.

24. BYOB is Your Jam.

Pie in the Sky, Rosa's Legacy, you name it and you can bring your own booze!

25. You Have the Pleasure of a Bar on Every Corner.

Literally there's a bar on pretty much every corner. It's a blessing.

26. When You're Drunk at 3 AM, the Only Place To Go Is Dominick's Eatery...

Meatball & Cheese Omelette Anyone?

Erie is many things. It's charming, lively, picturesque, breath-taking and Interesting. It is eerie, exhausting and depressing in the seasons. But above all, it is home.

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11 Things Fastpitch Softball Players Know To Be True

You'll never remember your Facebook password, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life.

There comes a time in every little girl's life when she must come to terms with the fact that she will never play Major League Baseball. So, she turns to softball. From tee-ball to coach-pitch to travel ball, to playing on your school team, softball has played a crucial role in your life. It taught you the value of teamwork, the importance of sunscreen, and introduced you to your best friends. For former and current fastpitch players alike, these truths are universal.

1. The rays of a thousand suns couldn't even out your tan lines.

Tan arms and a V-neck tan line is the unofficial uniform of the softball player. Years after you stop playing softball, at 2 p.m. on the second Monday of every month when the sun is shining through your bathroom window at a 90-degree angle, you'll swear you can still see the slightest hint of a racerback tan line between your shoulders. Good luck finding a flattering sundress!

2. Pitchers are a different breed of human.

It's a tale as old as time: You saw that the pitchers got to skip all of the intense drills at practice so they can go off to the side with the catcher to chat and have a catch for an hour and you said, "I gotta get in on that." So, your dad paid for your pitching lessons, you mimicked Jennie Finch as best as you could, and three years later, you're contemplating changing your name just to forget about that time you spent as a pitcher. Successful pitchers must have no other interests, future career goals, or a family who loves them because pitching just destroys everything you believe in. If you do survive being a pitcher, congratulations, because you are now fully equipped with nerves of steel that will allow you to conquer the worst that life has to throw at you.

3. An 8 a.m. game on Sunday means you had a really bad Saturday.

Where is the most tranquil and somber place that people often go to on Sunday mornings to reflect on their wrongdoings? No, not church. It's the softball field. When you have to be at the field before the sun, you start thinking irrationally, like "Maybe if I used the Demarini instead of the Stealth in the third inning of the second game yesterday we would've only lost by six runs instead of seven which would have put us in the winner's bracket!" Have fun running a lap for every error you made the day before.

4. If the other team is wearing shorts, you know you're going to win.

There's just so much leg! Shorts and softball go together like ketchup and strawberry jelly, as in, that's what your knees are going to look like if you even attempt to slide wearing a pair of shorts. Don't even get me started on the tan line from mid thigh to mid shin. You know the one. This is the big leagues, ladies, put on some pants.

5. If you aren't dirty after a game, you didn't play hard enough.

If you don't come home from a tournament, look in the mirror, and go, "Wow I got a good tan today!" only to take a shower and find out that it was all just dirt, then you probably missed that slide sign from the third base coach when you were rounding second.

6. Cheers are a necessary evil.

Cheering in softball is like having a dead-end job that you hate; it's unfulfilling, robs you of your dignity, and tires you out, but you have to do it anyway. You'll never remember your Facebook password, your parents' anniversary, or that you left your laundry in the washer, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you fall into the water and bump your little head like that damn froggy.

7. Pre-wrap is a hot commodity in the dugout.

"I'll trade you a bag of Ranch sunflower seeds for your light blue pre wrap."

"No way, I had to get my mom to drive me to three different Sports Authority's last night just to find this color!"

8. You may get along with other teams between games, but they are not your friends on the field.

It's perfectly normal to meet another player in line for the bathroom at a tournament, compliment her on her cheetah print hair ribbon, and then trash talk her on the field half an hour later. You can make it up to her by giving her a high five and a poignant smile in the handshake line after the game.

9. If you get hit by a pitch and there aren't lace marks in your skin, it's really just a waste of time.

You love being able to showcase your bruises at school on Monday when all of your non-softball friends ask, "Does it hurt to get hit with a fastball?" and you can coolly and calmly answer, "Nah." Bruises up your street cred, and lace marks are just bonus points. So, when you don't have any stitching embedded in your skin, you wish you could just have the chance to bat. Take your base.

10. When the bat meets the ball juuuuuust right, it is the most powerful feeling in the world.

Your dad was right when he told you to keep your head down when you swing. You always thought that the "sweet spot" of the bat was just a myth until you hit your first home run. The rush of adrenaline will make you feel so powerful that you'll try to see if you can pick up a car in the parking lot with your bare hands after the game, but you still can't.

11. You will always consider your team to be your best friends.

After spending every weekend together, you and your team create a bond so close that it borders on uncomfortable. You may take out your frustrations on each other from time to time like when someone steps on the freshly chalked line before the game, or when you all fight over the ball with the best, most prominent laces for your warm up toss. But at the end of the day, your team will always be the biggest bunch of weirdos you know, and that is irreplaceable.

Cover Image Credit: Art Mad

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.


On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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