Something for everyone

There will be plenty to see and do Labor Day weekend with festivals and a fair in the region. The Cambria City Ethnic Festival will be held Sept. 3-5. The Log House Arts Festival opens Sept. 4 and continues Sept. 5. The annual three-day Forest Hills Festival begins Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 6. The American Legion County Fair opens Sept. 4. The agricultural showcase will be held through Sept. 11.

With Labor Day weekend right around the corner, festivals and an agricultural showcase will offer plenty for people to see and do in the region.

The Cambria City Ethnic Festival will be held Sept. 3-5. It will feature traditional foods, craft vendors and free entertainment.

St. Mary’s

At St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, volunteers have made about 30,000 pierogi, 6,000 stuffed cabbages and 1,500 pounds of haluski.

There will also be hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh-cut fries, hot sausage sandwiches, kielbasa, homemade sauerkraut, Hungarian goulash and gobs.

“This is food people remember their mothers and grandmothers making,” said Monsignor Raymond Balta, a festival organizer.

“They get a chance to come back and have food that they had when they were growing up in Johnstown.”

St. Mary’s pavilion, located at 411 Power St., is the center of many activities, including musical entertainment.

Scheduled performers are Yum, Jerry Intihar, Rhythm Masters and Tom Katz.

“It’s a sentimental weekend for Johnstown, and it’s a Johnstown celebration of who we are,” Balta said.

“A lot of times, families come back to visit relatives and plan it around this weekend. It’s an opportunity for people to reminisce about growing up here and the people they knew.”

Holy Cross

Holy Cross Lutheran Church, in collaboration with First Catholic Slovak Band Hall and Parrot Bay Café & Catering, will host an event in the 700 block of Chestnut Street with traditional Slovakian foods and musical entertainment.

The menu will feature haluski, halupki, pierogi, kielbasa, pulled pork sandwiches, steak burgers, hot dogs, fries and gobs.

Beer will be served at the First Catholic Slovak Band Hall.

“The festival is an open street fair with no admission, where people can wander through, and there’s 10 blocks of things to see and do,” said Paul Kushner, a festival organizer.

“It’s a family event, and people want to come to celebrate.”

At 6 p.m. Sept. 4, Veteran Community Initiatives will present the Ed Cernic Sr. Community Support Recognition Award to an individual who has made significant contributions to VCI.

A veterans’ recognition ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 5.

This year, the church has partnered with VCI and Beginnings Inc. and will collect donations throughout the weekend for both organizations.

A portion of net festival sales will also be given to VCI.

Musical entertainment will be featured indoors at First Catholic Slovak Band Hall and outside.

The schedule includes Sept. 3: 4 p.m., The Frick Brothers, outside, and 10 p.m, Fuse, inside; Sept. 4: 4 p.m., Undercover, outside, and 10 p.m., Hair Force One, inside; and Sept. 5: 3 p.m., Mac’d Up Entertainment DJ/Karaoke, inside, and 8 p.m. Silver Screen, inside.

“The festival is a homecoming for people, and many of them schedule themselves to come home at that time to visit family and friends and it enhances their weekend,” Kushner said.

“I truly believe the ethnic festival has become one of Johnstown’s destination events and people try to make a point to be in town around it.”

Ace’s

Ace’s on Chestnut Street will have a variety of options throughout the weekend.

The menu will feature lamb sandwiches, halupki, haluski, pierogi, panko-breaded chicken tenders, fresh-cut fries and gobs.

“The lamb is slow roasted, and it’s a fan favorite and it’s what brings people down to the festival,” said Dustin Greene, part-owner of Ace’s.

Ace’s will offer alcoholic and nonalcoholic frozen drinks.

There will also be six draft beers, 12 varieties of bottled beers and wine coolers.

A returning festival favorite will be the frozen cheesecake on a stick that is hand-dipped to create a shell of chocolate or cherry.

Octane will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 3.

Additional light music will be presented throughout the weekend under the food tent.

“People really appreciate the festival food and the history of the neighborhood,” Greene said.

“It’s an eclectic group of people – from children with their parents, teenagers on their own, adults and those who have been coming to the festival for decades.”

ACRP’s Irish Corner

Alternative Community Resource Program will host an Irish Corner at Chestnut Street and 10th Avenue.

ACRP has partnered with the Ancient Order of Hibernians to celebrate Irish culture.

“What we’ve seen is crowds continuing to grow in the Irish Corner, and it seems like the foot traffic has definitely increased year-to-year,” said Bill McKinney, a co-chairman with the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

“Pre-COVID it was our largest year ever from a participation standpoint.

“We’re really excited for this year, and we’re expecting a nice turnout, and people are looking forward to enjoying the food and entertainment.”

The Irish-themed menu will feature Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, potato soup, corn beef and Reuben sandwiches, Irish macaroni and cheese, scones and soda bread.

“The traditional Irish flare is there,” McKinney said.

Vendors include Pappy’s Family Pub, Feight Family Concessions, Ribs N Bibs, Primo’s Pizza, The Grove, Nebula Formations, LuLaRoe, Triskele Creations and Wonderland Travel.

Music will feature Irish bands, including the Pittsburgh-based Murphy’s Lawn, Irish Pretenders, Tree, Dead Irish Blues and Highlander Pipe and Drum Band, as well as Irish dancers.

“The groups are very diverse in what they do and how they do it, so you get a little bit of Celtic rock, traditional Irish music and ballads,” McKinney said.

“We try to give a well-rounded representation of Celtic music.”

Proceeds will benefit ACRP and AOH programming.

“The festival is one of the special traditions of Johnstown, and people know about the ethnic festival, family and friends come in from out-of-town to join in the celebration,” McKinney said.

“It brings out the best of our ethnic backgrounds.”

In addition, ACRP’s Splash Park will be open throughout the festival in a lot next to the nonprofit’s play center.

There will be a small fee.

Bottle Works, VOMA

Bottle Works and Venue of Merging Arts are partnering to offer music at the Third Avenue Arts Stage.

“We’re really excited because we have a good musical selection, and Adam Mundok from VOMA does a really good job getting a diverse line up for us,” said Melody Tisinger, Bottle Works’ advancement and operations director.

“We’re presenting talent from the regional area.”

There will be an outdoor stage on Third Avenue and an indoor stage in the Art Works building, where people will be able to listen to blues, alternative, jazz, bluegrass and oldies.

“It has been a natural partnership with VOMA, and both of us want to bring musical entertainment to the area,” Tisinger said.

Vendors will be indoors of Bottle Works and along Third Avenue.

Performing Sept. 3 will be the Jeffreys Brothers Band at 5 p.m., followed by Black Cat Moan at 7:30 p.m.

Autism Special Music Band will entertain at noon Sept. 4., followed by Midnight Graffitti at 2 p.m., That Oldies Band at 4:30 p.m. and John Gress’ Gree Gree Band at 7:30 p.m.

On Sept. 5, the Denise Baldwin’s Artist Showcase will be presented at 1 p.m., followed by Striped Maple Hollow at 3 p.m. and the Mike Mitchell Band at 4 p.m.

Also slated to perform will be Kulani West African Dance and Adrianna’s Arabian Jewels.

A Kids’ Zone will be offered at noon Sept. 4 and 5.

In Bottle Works, “Hometown Heroes – Steve Ditko Exhibition” will be on display. The retrospective showcase honors the trailblazing artist and creator in the comics field.

Food vendors will be on Third Avenue, including Roots Kitchen & Juicery, Legends Caribbean Grill, Ortega’s Cuban Cafe and Pappy D’s.

“Cambria City is such a delightful place, and the neighborhood has charm and it’s that nostalgia that brings people back,” Tisinger said.

“For people who move away, the festival is that return to familiarity, and for people who are new to the area, it’s a welcome to Johnstown culture.”

Log House Arts Festival

Those attending the 50th annual Log House Arts Festival will be treated to crafts, food, entertainment and children’s activities.

The juried festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 4 and 5 at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.

Craftspeople from Bedford, Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland counties and from four other states will display their wares.

“This year is going to be one of the best and most spectacular festival years the Community Arts Center has ever produced,” said Angela R. Godin, executive director of the arts center.

“We have close to 40 new vendors with an extremely diverse cross-section of artistic and crafter mediums.”

The festival will feature more than 100 vendors, selling jewelry, pottery, florals, rugs, crafted wood and decor, tole, plants, fabric items, handbags, sweatshirts, furniture, Pittsburgh Steelers gear, metal artwork, slate artwork, fudge, wine and distillery.

Kids’ Kingdom will have children’s activities on the second floor of the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center.

The Sharptones will open the festival with doo-wop and classic rock music at 10 a.m. Sept. 4. The group will perform throughout the day.

Rosie and the Jammers will entertain with polka music at 10 a.m. Sept. 5, followed by Hard Rok, Koko & Joe with classic rock, folk and blues at 2 p.m.

Iron City Aerial, a silk and circus performance group, will be featured at 1 p.m. Sept. 4 and 5.

Other entertainment will be Razzle & Dazzle, the face painting and balloon-twisting clowns; belly dancing with Adriann White; Unicycle Sam; magic shows; storytelling; and visits from Spiderman, a Minion, Green Power Ranger, T-Rex, Minnie Muse and Elsa and Anna from “Frozen.”

The menu will feature choices from Perfectly Imperfect Pizza, Rainbow Food Services and Kona Ice, along with apple dumplings, gobs and funnel cakes.

A shuttle service will be provided by Flood City Youth Fitness Academy between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day from the Hiram G. Andrews Center, 727 Goucher St.

“The dynamic participation of local performance artists, amazing musical entertainment, Iron City Aerial performers and new food vendors and menus will really add something extra special to highlight this year,” Godin said.”

“It is a true blending of artists, crafters, makers and fine artists, not to mention the fantastic activities in Kids’ Kingdom. I can’t wait for the community to enjoy this year’s festival.”

Forest Hills Festival

Family and community will be on tap at the annual Forest Hills Festival.

The three-day event will be held Sept. 4-6 at Berwind Wayside Festival Park, Route 869, St. Michael.

Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 4, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 5 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 6.

Adams Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 is in charge of the festival.

Paul Kundrod, chief of the fire company, said the response to the festival from the community and food and craft vendors has been great.

“The festival provides a good, hometown atmosphere, along with a lot of good hometown cooking,” he said.

“We’ve had a very positive turnout with all of our vendors and we have more craft vendors this year than we’ve ever had in the past.”

The arts and crafts show will feature more than 125 booths with vendors selling candles, yard signs, jewelry, clothing, artwork and seasonal outdoor signage and displays.

Each day, a breakfast will be served from 7 to 11 a.m. at the fire station, across the street from the festival grounds.

The all-you-can-eat menu of pancakes, bacon, sausage and other breakfast favorites will be available for $8.

“It’s a favorite of the festival, and we get many people who will attend the breakfast and then go over to the festival grounds and spend the day there,” Kundrod said.

“It’s a fantastic meal.”

Food vendors of local churches and civic groups will serve hot sausage, roasted meats, stuffing balls, pizza, roasted nuts, fresh-cut fries, ham potpie, apple dumplings and gobs.

Musical entertainment for Sept. 4 will feature 53 South at 11 a.m., Hard Rok, KoKo & Joe at 3 p.m. and Fuse at 7 p.m.

On Sept. 5, KB & The Crew will entertain at 11 a.m., Russell Wilburn at 2:30 p.m. and Three of Hearts at 6 p.m.

A fireworks display will light up the sky at 9 p.m.

“It’s a great show and it captivates the crowd,” Kundrod said.

“It’s a good crowd.”

Le Dance Academy will perform at 10 a.m. Sept. 6, followed by Tombstone at 12:30 p.m. and Button Box at 3 p.m.

Bingo will be offered in the social hall, and there will be children’s activities.

“This is somewhat of an unofficial homecoming for a lot of the Forest Hills residents who have moved out of town and come back home for the weekend,” Kundrod said.

“We’re hoping for great crowds this year.”

American Legion County Fair

The 129th annual American Legion County Fair will be held Sept. 4-11 at the Cambria County Fairgrounds, 833 N. Julian St., along old U.S. Route 219, one mile north of Ebensburg.

Fairgoers will see farm equipment, animal displays, rides, food vendors and demolition derbies.

“It’s just a different atmosphere for a whole week, and we’re hoping to see large crowds this year,” said Darrell Jones, fair manager.

Dave Martin’s Bullride Mania is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 5.

“These are professional bull riders, and you get to see these riders once a year because there’s nothing like this in the area,” Jones said.

Grandstand shows will include a truck pull at 4 p.m. Sept. 6; street stock and super semi-truck pull at 7 p.m. Sept. 7; four-cylinder demo derby at 7 p.m. Sept. 8; six-cylinder demo derby at 7 p.m. Sept. 9; eight-cylinder demo derby at 7 p.m. Sept. 10; and KSR Motorsports Night of Fire and Destruction Monster Truck Show at 8 p.m. Sept. 11.

“People want to be as close as they can get, and they go crazy over it,” Jones said.

“The monster truck show is the biggest draw, and we run out of room to put people, so if you’re planning on coming, come early and get your seat.”

Rides will open at noon Sept. 5-6 and 11 and at 4 p.m. Sept. 7-10.

“A huge part of what we do is 4-H, and the kids come up and spend a week there taking care of the animals, and that’s what it’s all about,” Jones said.

The $8 one-price ticket includes parking, rides, grandstand shows, livestock and agriculture events and exhibits.

CamTran+ will offer bus service to the fair Sept. 7-11. Fairgoers can ride rural routes 30, 31 and 33 Sept. 7-10 and routes 30, 34 and 35 Sept. 11.

For more information, call the CamTran+ office at 1-800-252-3889 or ask any rural bus operator.

For a complete schedule of events, visit www.cambriacofair.com/events.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at 814-532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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