Music, food and fun are the hallmarks of Windber’s heritage celebration, but there is a serious side to the annual event.
The 2014 Miners’ Memorial Day Weekend marks its 15th anniversary and will be held June 12-15 along Graham Avenue.
The event, which honors the coal miners who worked and died in the mines, has grown from a small parade to the current four-day street festival.
Visitors will be treated to events that include car, motorcycle and truck/ATV shows with live entertainment, street dances each night featuring area bands, fireworks, food and craft vendors, children’s petting zoo and games and a parade.
“This event celebrates our rich heritage in coal and our small-town family values,” said Sandra Pritt, event coordinator.
“We are also honoring those surviving members of the first Dog Boys that for 20 years organized the Dog Runs, which preceded our miners’ memorial celebration.”
The festival kicks off with a gigantic truck and ATV show from 6 to 10 p.m. June 12. Entertainment will be provided by The Smicks, Pittsburgh’s only Amish rock band.
The fun resumes at 5:30 p.m. June 13 as the Johnstown Button Box provides polka music at the Gazebo.
In conjunction with the commemoration, a concert by country star Lynn Anderson will be presented at 7:30 p.m. June 13 at Arcadia Theater, 1418 Graham Ave.
Tickets are available by calling 467-9070.
Family fun is jam-packed into June 14.
The Dog Boys will be recognized during the event’s bike show from 5 to 7:30 p.m. along Graham Avenue.
Live music will feature Pittsburgh’s legendary Hucklebucks and a street dance from 8 to 11 with The Characters.
Plaques to the first 100 motorcycles will be presented. The show is expected to attract all kinds of bikes, including trikes, customs, touring, cruisers, vintage and sport bikes.
The original Dog Run committee was formed to have a fun motorcycle run and party afterward. All the while, these dedicated bikers raised money to help struggling organizations in Windber.
Through the years, they’ve helped the Windber Library, paid for Christmas lights and banners and Scout groups.
“Although the Dog Run has run its final course, it is only fitting that we recognize those responsible from the beginning,” Pritt said.
Organizers have brought back the Cryptic Scavenger Hunt, which proved to be quite a challenge last year when no one came up with all the right answers.
“People will receive a sheet and they must follow the clues to find the hidden landmarks of downtown Windber,” Pritt said.
“It has proven to be a real brainteaser.”
The clue sheets will be available at the fire hall or during the parade that steps off at 11 a.m.
“People won’t want to miss the fireworks at 9:30 that night,” Pritt said.
“They will be visible from anywhere in downtown Windber.”
Pritt said children will enjoy a variety of activities, including face painting, balloons and clowns.
“We also are bringing back the petting zoo,” she said.
On June 15, a special Father’s Day car show and cruise will be held from noon to 5 p.m.
Organizers are asking for a $2 donation to enter a vehicle in the show, and dash plaques will be presented to the first 200 cars.
The show will welcome familiar Johnstown radio voices for a boss jock reunion, which will feature Chuck Bender, Lee Mack and Bob Mainhart.
Another attraction includes a basket raffle.
Food vendors will be located in the parking lot of the Windber Community Building.
Mouthwatering treats include porkettes, chicken/lettuce wraps, Italian beef, hot sausage and meatball sandwiches, corn dogs, fries, burgers, hot dogs, crab cakes, coleslaw, barbecued pulled pork and ribs.
For those with a sweet tooth, offerings include gobs, apple dumplings, cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos.
Craft vendors will be interspersed along Graham Avenue and Miners’ Memorial Park. Items ranging from handcrafted jewelry and collectibles to woodcrafts and custom tapestries, featuring the sites of Windber will be for sale.
The festival is sponsored by the Eureka Coal Heritage Foundation with assistance of a number of sponsors and volunteers.
“Without all of these generous people and businesses, this event would not be possible or near the success it has been,” Pritt said.
Information: visit echf.windberpa.org.
Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.
If you go ...
What: 2014 Miners’ Memorial Day celebration.
Where: Graham Avenue, Windber.
When: June 12-15.
Information: Visit echf.windber pa.org.