The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 25, 2013

Building on success | Organizers gearing up for 3-day Forest Hills Festival


ST. MICHAEL — Wholesome family fun is the keystone of the Forest Hills Festival.

The 25th anniversary edition will be held Saturday through Sept. 2 at Berwind Wayside Festival Park, Locust Street in St. Michael.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday  and Sept. 1 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

Adams Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 is in charge of the festival and organizers are building on the success of the past, said Paul Kundrod, fire chief.

Kundrod has no qualms about competing with other festivals.

“We fare quite well because we have had such loyal support,” Kundrod said.

“We are committed to offering reasonably priced food, enjoyable entertainment along with a host of craft vendors.”

Much of the success can be attributed to the improvements made to the park since the fire company took ownership from the Berwind Coal Co.

Previously, the 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society leased the park from the coal company and initiated the festival.

“With this being the 25th year, it is a testament to the festival’s longevity and popularity,” Kundrod said.

“The improvements we made – four new pavilions, restrooms and a performance gazebo – have given us a base for a bright future.”

Two of the pavilions will be used by vendors while two others will give people a place to sit and get reacquainted. Tables and chairs also will be set up at various locations throughout the park.

“It’s a homecoming of sorts,” Kundrod said. “It’s also a way for our local churches and civic organizations to make some money by renting a space to sell items.”

Any group renting space gets to keep   100 percent of the proceeds it raises.

“We have at least 36 food vendors, which is up from last year,” Kundrod said.

Kundrod expects at least 100 craft vendors.

Each day will start with a breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 at the fire station, across the street from the festival grounds.

Saturday’s entertainment starts with Walt & Jackie from 1 to 3 p.m. The Runaways will perform from 3 to 6 and Fuse will take the stage from 7 to 10.

Entertainment on Sept. 1 will start with students from Le Dance Academy performing from 11 a.m. to noon; Hard Rock, Coco & Joe from 12:30 to 3 p.m.; and The Conniptions from 7 to 10. A grand fireworks display will take place at 9.

Duaine Detrick of Richland Township, a member of The Conniptions, never tires of performing for the festival.

“I believe this will be our ninth straight year to close out the Saturday events on fireworks night,” Detrick said.  

Performances for Sept. 2 will include the Christian music group, Allon, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; polkas with Rosie and the Jammers from 1:30 to 4:30; and more polkas with The Button Box from 5 to 7.

Free parking will be available along Locust Street and throughout St. Michael.

Festival proceeds benefit the fire company.

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Tom Lavis @TomLavistd.

In St. Michael

What: Forest Hills Festival.

When: Saturday through Sept. 2.

Where: Berwind Wayside Festival Park, Locust Street, St. Michael.

Admisson: Free.