Category Archives for Announcements

3/16 Update: Syria Shriners Facility Closures and Event Rescheduling


Effective immediately, and until further notice (at least for the remainder of this month), all Temple, Unit, Club, Caravan and other sub-group meetings, rehearsals and other activities scheduled for the Pittsburgh Shrine Center are canceled. This includes the meeting of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee scheduled for March 24.

We are frustrated, and share your frustration, but given the current public health concern, the demographics of our membership, and the response from Masonic, governmental, and public health authorities, we have chosen to act with an abundance of caution.

We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. Please use email, telephone conference calls, virtual meeting software, and any other technology that may aid in conducting your business and communicating with your members.

Yours in the faith,
Donald J. Taylor, Sr.
Illustrious Potentate

Rescheduled Major Events for 2020

SYRIA SHRINERS announces the following rescheduled events, after recent postponements due to public health concerns.

Potentate's Ball rescheduled for Sat. Oct. 24

An Enchanted Evening, the 2020 Potentate's Ball, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., and First Lady Eleanor, will enchant you at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Ballroom, Saturday, October 24.

The same menu, entertainment, and enchantment will light up your evening, Saturday, October 24.

Potentate's Testimonial Banquet rescheduled for Sat. Nov. 21

The Potentate's Testimonial Banquet, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., affectionately known as, "The Stag," will invade the Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites at RIDC Park, Saturday, November 21.

Four-time Super Bowl Champion, decorated Vietnam veteran and internationally-acclaimed speaker Rocky Bleier will be on hand to accept "The Gunner," the Noble Robert F. Prince, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement.

It's the same great day, with all the same great fun, and the same great speaker, just eight months (to the day) after the originally scheduled date. Your tickets for the March 21 event will be used in November, so don't throw them away!

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Your Shrine Center office will be open to answer phone calls, receive mail, pay our obligations, allow our auditors access to our files, and carry on other essential business, but we ask that you not make personal visits to the office until further notice, at least for the remainder of this month.

Our staff will be taking proper precautions, following the guidelines established by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in practicing social distancing and preparing our workplace for this public health concern.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P.

Syria Shriners’ Events Update Concerning the Coronavirus

From the Desk of Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P. and Recorder


March 13, 2020 - This statement is an effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding upcoming Syria Shriners events and other events scheduled for the Pittsburgh Shrine Center. 

It has come to my attention that rumors are circulating throughout the nobility that are spreading inaccurate information. We were hoping to be able to make one statement concerning these activities, but it has become clear that we must communicate with you now, while certain details are still being determined.

We are fully disclosing the details of all events as we understand them at this time. Accordingly, this email is lengthy. We apologize for that, but want to be fully informed of all developments.

First, all events scheduled for the Shrine Center this weekend 

  • The Legion of Honor Spring Luncheon will be in the Unit Meeting Room, beginning at 11am, Saturday, March 14. 
  • The “Night at the Races” fundraiser will be in the ballroom beginning at 6pm, Saturday, March 14. 
  • The Airys Temple No. 48, Daughters of the Nile open installation will be in the ballroom, beginning at 3pm, Sunday, March 15. 

None of these events will be large gatherings. The luncheon will have fewer than 40 people in attendance. There are 90 advance tickets sold for the “Night at the Races.” The Daughters of the Nile event will have fewer than 60 attendees. Ample opportunity for social distancing will be had at each of these events.

Moving forward, the Stage Band Swing Time dance, scheduled for the Shrine Center ballroom, Friday, March 20 has been canceled.

The Testimonial Banquet, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, scheduled for the Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites at RIDC Park on Saturday, March 21 is being postponed.

Rocky Bleier contacted us at 12:10pm, Friday, March 13, to inform us that he would be unable to attend “the stag.” The Potentate, Banquet Chair, and other advisors had been weighing options, including suspending the hospitality rooms, and the banquet over the last few days. When Rocky canceled his March 21 appearance, but readily indicated a willingness to appear at a later date, the decision was made to postpone the event.​

We are nearly, but not completely certain that we have a date to reschedule the stag. We expect to be able to make that announcement Monday, March 16, as soon as we are 100% certain of Rocky’s availability. Rocky has indicated his availability on the date we have selected, based on the schedules of the hotel and the Potentate, but wants to confirm that his secretary has not booked an engagement of which he is not yet aware. We had hoped to confirm that information today, but were unable to do so. Hence, we anticipate an announcement on Monday.

The inaccurate information being disseminated by rumor-mongers forces us to make a statement now, however.

In April, the Bunny Bash, scheduled for the Shrine Center ballroom, 
​Saturday, April 4, has been canceled. 

We will attempt to schedule another party for our kids at a later date.

The Quarterly Meeting and Ceremonial, scheduled for the Shrine Center, Monday, April 6, has been postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as possible.

The Potentate’s Ball, scheduled for the ballroom, Saturday, April 18, will be rescheduled for a later date. Again, as soon as we know when that will be, we will let you know. 

The Swing Time dance, scheduled for the ballroom, Friday, April 24, is still on at this time. We will evaluate that as developments continue.

At this time, we anticipate holding all of our events in May - and later -
as scheduled.

Further developments will determine whether any of those events needs to be rescheduled.

Watch your email, and check our website and Facebook page for additional information moving forward.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our schedule changes, but we have decided to act with an abundance of caution as we all deal with this public health matter.

Stay safe, be sure to practice proper hygiene, and follow the recommendations of federal, state, and local public health agencies, and government authorities.

Yours in the faith.


Statement on 69th Pittsburgh Shrine Circus camel incident

Statement from the Pittsburgh Syria Shriners:

On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at approximately 3:38pm, during the final intermission of the 69th Annual Shrine Circus, a domesticated camel, which had been giving rides to patrons during each of the five performances of the circus, was startled while returning to the ride platform. This caused the animal to rear and attempt to dislodge the three persons (one adult, two children) who were riding.

At this time, we are unable to confirm initial reports that an audience member threw a nearby shovel at the camel’s feet during the ride, which allegedly startled the animal.

At the time of the incident, the camel was being led by a trained and licensed handler. The animal had not displayed any abnormal behavior prior to the incident.

The incident lasted at total of approximately eleven seconds before the camel was brought under control by the handler; all other animals remained under control during the incident.

The three persons who were riding the camel were transported to the hospital for injuries sustained when the animal reared, as were three or four other audience members who were injured in the commotion of the crowd while the incident was occurring. Several people were released after being treated for minor injuries.

This is first incident impacting patron safety in the 69 years of the Shrine Circus in Pittsburgh and is now being investigated by the proper authorities.

The Shrine Circus expresses its deepest regrets for the incident and extends its sympathies to all those who were injured or impacted by the event.

Pittsburgh’s Syria Shriners Debut New Website

Nobles throughout the Oasis take notice, the Syria Shriners are pleased to announce to one and all the debut of our new website! 

The address is still the same, www.SyriaShriners.org, but we now boast a fresh new look. The new site adds modern functionality that we hope will serve the Nobility's desire for a strong online presence to promote the activities of our Temple.

The newly designed website satisfies the vision of our 2018 Potentate, Bill Branthoover. Our Illustrious Sir decided this spring to make the site redesign one of his focal projects this year.

"It is my great pleasure to announce the release of our new fraternal website, Bill said. "It is my hope than an improved online presence will help educate and inform both the nobility and the public, who express a desire to learn more about our wonderful fraternity and all that we have to offer."

The site is proud to offer each Unit Club and Caravan their own space to showcase the purpose, history and activities of each to current and potential members. 

Our new site also organizes our vast content assets into an easy to access portal. ​

New links will guide site visitors quickly to resources and information about our Shriners Hospitals for Children, information on becoming a Shriner and of course, Freemasonry in our great state of Pennsylvania. 

Additionally, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our two talented Nobles Tim McKiernan and Tom Ruch of McKiernan & Ruch Photography. Without their incredible creativity and generous permission, the site would not be as beautiful visually. Their hard work truly serves as an amazing record of the activities and people who make our Temple as great as it is. Thank you, both!

We hope you all will enjoy this new site well into the future. If you have any comments about the new site or if you have content updates or suggestions that may help to improve it, please feel free to send us a note via the contact page.


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