The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 3, 2013

Community focusing on Eastern European heritage

Tom Lavis

CENTRAL CITY — Coordinators of Shade-Central City Heritage Days will provide activities, food and entertainment to mark the community’s history.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 11 at Shade-Central City Community Park, off Chestnut Street in Central City.

The organizing committee has made sure the weekend will be filled with games, children’s activities, music, food and sports competitions.

Jessie Barnes, Heritage Days committee chairwoman, said the event has blossomed since it began during a community centennial celebration in 1994.

“We have earned a reputation for providing wholesome fun at affordable prices,” Barnes said. “Historically we have had wonderful attendance through the years, enjoying activities for young and old alike plus great food and music.”

The growth has attracted visitors from Somerset, Cambria and Bedford counties.

This year the community will celebrate its ethnic heritage.

“There is no better way to mark our Eastern European ethnic heritage than by having nut roll and halupki cook-offs” Barnes said.

The judging will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday.

In keeping with the food theme, heritage days boasts a lot of homemade food prepared by people from churches, businesses and civic groups.

“Aside from ham potpie, pierogies, haluski, brats and sausages, we will be featuring more traditional things like hot sausage, meatball sandwiches, steak and cheese sandwiches, funnel cakes, roasted pig, barbecued meats and desserts,” Barnes said. “We will have tents set up where people can sit and enjoy their food.”

For the athletic set, a 2K race and a basketball tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Other activities include miniature horse cart rides, train rides, balloon animals, beanbag tossing tournament and bingo.

“New this year will be an 1860s vintage baseball game from 2 to 5 p.m.,” Barnes said.

“The opponents will be a local team versus a team based in Pittsburgh.”

The Heritage Days parade is scheduled to step off at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Parade chairman Brian Ishman expects as many as 30 units to participate.

“We expect fire and EMS vehicles as well as marching bands, cheerleaders, church groups, floats and twirling groups,” Ishman said.

The parade route begins on Main Street and travels through the heart of Central City toward the Central City Christian Church, where the parade will disband. Awards will be presented later in the evening, Ishman said.

A fireworks display will be presented at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We get a nice response because this is the only time we have fireworks in Central City,” Barnes said.

Barnes said there will be tree planting at 2 p.m. Aug. 11 as a living memorial commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

“We call it the Lincoln tree dedication because the planting is a direct descendent of the witness tree from near where Abraham Lincoln made his historic address following the Battle of Gettysburg,” Barnes said.

The tree will be planted by members of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War at the Armed Forces Memorial.

One of the most popular aspects of the festival is the music. A variety of performers will play at the park’s two pavilions.

“When one group is done playing at one pavilion, we have another ready to start at the other, which almost guarantees us continuous music throughout the weekend,” Barnes said.

Music will include performances by Zupe, Take Two, Johnstown Classic Rockers, Somerset County Community Band, Hallmarks Polka Band and Z-Man.

An expansive cruise-in car show featuring all types of vehicles will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 11 at the middle ballfield in the park.

“We are expecting everything from muscle cars and tuners to motorcycles and Model-T Fords,” said Rich Berkey, show chairman, who is expecting as many as 100 entries.