BY TOM LAVIS
For anyone looking for a safe, family-friendly atmosphere to ring in the new year, Johnstown will fulfill those wishes.
The citywide New Year’s Eve celebration will be held from 6 to 10 Dec. 31 in downtown Johnstown.
Celebration Johnstown! is an alcohol-free, New Year’s Eve get-together complete with free musical entertainment and children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides and food and refreshments.
The city’s streets will be busy as people turn out to say farewell to 2013 and welcome 2014 with friends and family.
Neighborhood groups helping make the celebration a success are Moxham Crime Watch, Roxbury Civic Group, West End Improvement Group and Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership.
A seven-person committee comprised of city residents is spearheading the event planning.
“We are adding new groups to the entertainment lineup to go along with some of the performers we have enjoyed in the past,” said Debbie Crowder, president of the Moxham Crime Watch and committee member.
“We are fortunate to have so many talented people willing to volunteer their time and talents.”
The venues will be First Presbyterian Church, 309 Lincoln St.; Cambria County Library, 248 Main St.; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 335 Locust St.; Franklin Street United Methodist Church, Franklin and Locust streets; and First Lutheran Church, 415 Vine St.
Organizers say the entertainment venues create a safe environment for participants.
Music will include jazz, polka, easy-listening, Christian, folk, Appalachian, Americana and alternative country, and standard country and rock ’n’ roll.
At St. Mark’s Episcopal Church hall, Hard Rok, KoKo & Joe will perform classic rock from 6 to 8.
Making its first appearance at Celebration Johnstown! will be Painted by Millions at St. Mark’s from 8:30 to 9:45.
The four-piece indie rock band features Johnny Bayush on guitar and vocals; Robbi Rummel on bass; Shawn Willard on drums; and Jack Follansbee on guitar and vocals.
Magician Bob Beatty will perform from 6 to 6:30 in the sanctuary, followed by singer-songwriter Jennifer Drummey from 6:30 to 7:30. Bo Moore will perform easy-listening music from 8 to 9:45.
Franklin Street UM
“Something new this year will be a puppet show at 6 p.m. at Franklin Street United Methodist Church’s hall,” Crowder said.
“The musical group Striped Maple Hollow also will be at Franklin Street from 6:45 to 7:45.”
Max Volk will perform from 8 to 9:30 at Franklin Street United Methodist Church hall.
In the church’s sanctuary, Whiskey River Panhandlers will perform a mix of bluegrass, folk, Appalachian, Americana and alternative country in the sanctuary from 6:30 to 8:30. They will be followed by the Calvary Cross Band from 8:45 to 9:45.
Jazz in Your Face will perform from 6 to 8 at First Presbyterian Church.
Cambria County Library
Kulani West African Dancers will perform from 6 to 7 in the main room at Cambria County Library, 248 Main St., where Rosie & the Jammers will perform from 7:30 to 9.
Classic Clowns will entertain beginning at 6 in the library’s lobby, with crafts and storytelling from 6 to 9 in the community room.
Entertainment at First Lutheran Church will include Vivace Strings from 6 to 6:45; Bishop McCort brass ensemble and choir, 6:45 to 7:30; and classic rock with Southside Strays, 8 to 9 in the sanctuary.
Paul Stephenson will perform from 7 to 9 in the church hall, and the Face Painting Factory will be open from 7 to 9.
And those out to celebrate the evening will be greeted by volunteers at entertainment venues. They will provide information and offer people a cheerful new year’s greeting.
“We want people to bring their children to enjoy some great entertainment and delight in the variety of performers,” said Linda Orlosky, committee member and president of Roxbury Civic Group.
Orlosky said civic organization members have been diligent in working with local businesses to ensure the New Year’s Eve celebration remains a free event.
“It’s a family-oriented and safe event with everything from children’s activities to great entertainment,” Orlosky said.
“Each venue will have programs available for visitors and signs will be posted on the streets to get people from one venue to another.”
All venues will offer food and refreshments for purchase.
In addition, Central Park, with its Christmas houses and generous decorations, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
The Johnstown Symphony Strolling Carolers will perform throughout the evening.
Misty Haven Carriage Rides of Davidsville will shuttle revelers throughout the downtown beginning at 6 for $5 a person.
While admission to Celebration Johnstown! is free, there will be donation jars at each venue.
“Last year, people donated about $2,000 through the course of the evening,” Crowder said.
“With that money, along with a grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, we have been able to sustain this event.”
The celebration will end with fireworks at 9:45.
“Fireworks will originate from the hillside in Prospect,” Crowder said.
Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.