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AmeriServ Financial is marking 25 years as title sponsor with the Flood City Music Festival.

Support from AmeriServ and other sponsors has helped make the event a Greater Johnstown tradition, said Shelley Johansson, director of communications for Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

While specific amounts were not disclosed by the event organizers, it was revealed that sponsors underwrite nearly 40% of the costs of putting on the music festival.

“Without our corporate sponsors, the event couldn’t happen, and many support the event with volunteers as well as financially,” Johansson said. “Many of our sponsors come back year after year.”

Of AmeriServ’s run as title sponsor – which dates to the festival’s inception – Johansson said: “That’s an incredible record of support, and we are grateful.”

Susan Angeletti, marketing director for AmeriServ, called the festival “one of the signature events for the city in the summertime.”

Jeff Stopko, AmeriServ president and CEO, said sponsoring the festival fits with his company’s role as a community bank – “headquartered right here in downtown Johnstown.”

He added: “We believe that being an active supporter of our community is important because this is our hometown – this is where we live, this is where we work – and we want to do anything we can do that improves the quality of life, stimulates economic activity, and brings some tourism into the region.”

Angeletti said the festival allows music lovers to get together and enjoy bands “that they couldn’t probably see anywhere else, or just the shear volume of music that is here.

“It’s also a great opportunity for the city itself to showcase itself to people who are not necessarily from this area,” Angeletti said. “From a corporate standpoint, we like the partnership we have with the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. We’re working with them to really showcase the different kinds of ethnicities that can be found here in the city. And then also the different types of cultures in terms of music.”

Stopko and Angeletti said area residents and those who visit the city have a variety of entertainment options with summer events such as the music festival, Thunder in the Valley and the AAABA Tournament.

“It’s almost like there’s something for everyone,” Angeletti said. “It lets people know that you don’t necessarily have to leave town to find entertainment.” 

‘It is a passion’

Johansson referred to sponsor Brett Insurance agency as a “steadfast and enthusiastic supporter.”

Brett Insurance President Jim Brett said playing music is a hobby of his and that he has always tried to support the local music scene.

“It is a passion of mine and I enjoy it,” Brett said. “There’s no weekend I enjoy more. And since I’m interested in it, that’s something our company chooses to sponsor.”

Brett said the annual music festival is a special event that people of all walks of life can enjoy.

“There’s just all kinds of music and something that can appeal to anybody,” he said. “They may not all be your favorite, but they do such a good job of getting a variety of good music – whether that’s ethnic music, rock, folk music or bluegrass. I just think they do a good job of getting some regional and occasionally a national act that’s going to appeal to many people.” 

Sponsoring the event has become as much of a tradition as the event itself for many sponsors, such as Von’s United Beverage, a local wholesale beer distributor that has been a major sponsor of the festival since it began in the mid-1990s. 

“I don’t think I’ve personally missed one in 25 years, so it’s been a lot of fun. We just love it,” said Von’s United Beverage president Dan Thompson.

“When we arrived in Johns-town some 27 years ago, we realized that there were a lot of good things happening in

Johnstown, and this was certainly one of them.

“It’s great music, great fun,” he said. “It brings locals out. It brings those that may have left Johnstown back to Johnstown for the event. I really believe it’s an important community asset.”

Ronald Fisher is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @FisherSince_82.