The History of Harrisburg’s Backyard Bash


American Mint
American Mint

Since 1998, American Mint has served as an online resource for collectors of coins, medals, decorative knives, and other collectible items, serving over 10 million customers worldwide. American Mint operates out of headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and plays an active role in community initiatives and events such as the annual Harrisburg Backyard Bash.

Since its inception in 1987, the Backyard Bash has brought neighbors together for an evening of food, music, and fun benefiting various worthwhile causes. The event began in the backyard of Harrisburg resident Jan Prosseda, who soon began soliciting donations to cover the costs of the popular affair. With no desire to profit from the community event, Mr. Prosseda began donating excess funds to local charities in need, transforming a simple block party into an impactful charity benefit.

In 1994, Mr. Prosseda and his fellow event founders created a nonprofit, BackYard Benefits, Inc., to oversee the creation of quality local events that would promote a sense of community while helping those in need. At the suggestion of former Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed, the event organizers moved the Backyard Bash to the city’s burgeoning downtown district in 2001. While attendance grew, the annual event soon ceased operations as members of the all-volunteer organization committee moved on to other endeavors.

Now, the Backyard Bash has returned. After holding an invite-only reunion in 2010, Mr. Prosseda set upon the task of reviving the tradition in full. Within three years of its revival, the Backyard Bash had donated over $10,000 to local charities, bringing its lifetime fundraising total to over $275,000.

The most recent event took place on Saturday, July 16, 2016, and benefited several regional cancer research foundations. Ticket holders enjoyed refreshments such as beer, hot dogs, and hamburgers and danced to the stylings of local band and Backyard Bash staple Smooth Like Clyde.