The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 14, 2012

Garden club readies to Welcome the Holidays

Johnstown — A fun-filled holiday event will help the Garden Club of Johnstown flourish.

The 22nd annual Welcome the Holidays program begins at 11 a.m. Nov. 10 at Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.

Before lunch, which begins at noon, guests can browse two rooms filled with handmade items created by club members and other items that have been purchased.

“It’s a matter of preventing congestion,” said Carla Straw of Richland Township, one of three women chairing the committee. “Setting up in two rooms has worked out well.”

Straw, along with Mary Jo Gardill and Jan Wolfe, both of Westmont, have been working for nearly a year to organize the event and create items that will be featured at the luncheon.

The luncheon, which is the garden club’s only fundraiser, attracts 240 guests each year.

The majority of items will be holiday themed, but there also will be items that can be displayed throughout the year.

“Items are priced from $5 to $50,” Straw said. “Our goal is to make the event affordable to everyone, which will enable us to sell all the items on display.”

There also will be a half-dozen raffle items and door prizes, including a money tree and the table centerpieces.

“We will be raffling an original floral photograph by former Johnstown resident Fred Gilmour of Williamsport,” Wolfe said.

Gilmour has been a freelance artist for more than 40 years.

Boutique shopping will feature nearly 80 wreaths, centerpieces, swags and floral designs, handcrafted by members of the club, as well as other holiday novelties.

“For the last three months, members have been busy at our workshops creating an array of unique items,” Wolfe said.

Proceeds go back to the community.

“The monies raised are used for our civic development, horticulture therapy, habitat for humanity, conservation and youth gardeners committees,” Straw said.

The club has performed or contributed to civic beautification projects in the Johnstown area for decades.

Founded in 1930, the club’s works includes annual and special projects performed in order to advance gardening, landscape design, floral design and the study of horticulture.

The organization also has taken a proactive approach when it comes to conservation and the environment.

Ellen Singleton of Southmont pointed to the club’s work to limit a knotweed infestation along the Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail from the Moxham section of Johnstown to Sandyvale Cemetery, in the Hornerstown section.

“By focusing on natural plants, we want to revegetate the area through a combination of seeding and mature plantings,” she said. “It’s an effort to control the problem, not irradicate the knotweed.”

The club’s other projects can be found throughout the Greater Johnstown region. They add a touch of beauty to the gazebo in downtown’s Central Park, four Main Street planters, the Russell House in Moxham, the John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Richland Township and the Community Arts Center of Cambria County in Westmont.

The group also tends a 19th century-style vegetable garden at the Wagner-Ritter House in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

After lunch, there will be a fashion show with holiday styles provided by Karen’s Couture, 9 Entrance Drive, Lower Yoder Township.

A floral design program will be presented by Mary Jane Martucci of Charleroi, Washington County.

She is a Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania District 10 director and an accredited flower show judge.

“She will present creations for various designs for the fall and winter holidays,” Straw said.

There also will be a slide show on what the club has accomplished at its various sites.

“We will have several before and after photos, which show the accomplishments of the club,” Straw said.

The Garden Club of Johnstown has 91 members.

“We are the largest garden club in District 6, which encompasses Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties,” Wolfe said.

The group meets at noon on the second Monday of each month at Westmont Presbyterian Church, 601 Luzerne St. in Westmont. New members are welcome.

There are a limited number of tickets remaining.

Tickets for the luncheon are $30 and must be reserved.

Those interested in attending should contact Aurora Gilmour, a club member.

Information: 255-6230.

If you go ...

What: Welcome the Holidays luncheon.

Where: Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.

When: 11 a.m. Nov. 10.

Reservations: Aurora Gilmour at 255-6230.

Cost: $30 a person.


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