The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 16, 2013

South Fork community celebration opens Thursday

Tom Lavis

— For anyone looking for a respite from all the hubbub associated with Johnstown’s Thunder in the Valley, it may be worth a trip to South Fork to enjoy the community’s Heritage Days celebration.

Historic memorabilia, music, food and fun are the hallmarks of Heritage Days as the community celebrates South Fork’s rich and notable past.

The third annual community event will be held Thursday through Sunday in and around the borough, and features  activities, displays, entertainment and crafts.

“We think some people are looking for an alternative during Thunder in the Valley, and we feel our festival offers family-oriented, wholesome fun,” said Denise Lang of Fifficktown, publicity chairwoman and member of the organizing committee.

Residents have pride and appreciation of South Fork’s heritage.

The community has prevailed despite floods, the demise of the coal industry and the decline of the rail industry.

“We ask visitors to come and share our tribute that revolves around railroading, coal and history,” Lang said. “We are offering walking tours again this year.”

Festivities begin with a banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church,

500 Maple St.

That’s followed by music by Michelle Bailey at 8 at the park gazebo.

From a historic perspective, the committee has concentrated on gathering memorabilia pertaining to community growth.

Historic exhibits will be on display in the community room adjacent to the South Fork Public Library, 320 Main St.

A beer tent will be set up at the fire hall.

There will be no shortage of activities.

While most activities are free, Thursday’s dinner and a wine tasting are each $10.

Tickets for the dinner may be purchased at the library.

The wine tasting will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church hall, 550 Main St.

Acoustical guitarist Roy Milstead will provide music during the wine tasting.

Participating wineries are Allegheny Cellars,  Raspberry Acres, Starr Hill Vineyard and Walnut Hill.

Stages will be set up at the fire hall and the park gazebo, where nearly continuous live music will be presented throughout the celebration.

A variety of music such as polka, classic rock, Celtic folk and rock will be performed over the course of the event.

During the day, visitors can catch entertaining dance shows and memorial services and enjoy live music from local and regional bands in the evenings.

More than two dozen vendors are expected to take part in the festivities, selling a variety of creations.

“We will feature things ranging from candles and homemade purses to woodwork and pillows,” Lang said.

Craft vendors will be located on the 300 block of Main Street.    

An interesting attraction will be the presentation of an outdoor movie at 9 p.m. Friday at Library Park at 320 Main St. “Madagascar 3” will delight visitors of all ages.

“We encourage people to bring chairs, blankets or anything else that makes them feel comfortable during the movie,” Lang said. “Free popcorn will be available.”

For the first time, organizers will be presenting a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

“People will be able to see them from most any place in town,” Lang said.

Food vendors will be located in the Wesley United Methodist Church parking lot, 511 Church St.

All the food is provided through local organizations.

Visitors will savor such items as meatball hoagies, pizza, hot sausage, chili, hamburgers, ham potpie, walking tacos, french fries, pulled pork sandwiches, wings, haluski, barbecue ribs, soft pretzels and hot dogs.

Anyone looking for something sweet may enjoy funnel cake, shortcakes with fruit, baked goods and ice cream.

A car cruise will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on Main Street.

Children also may enjoy activities such as an inflatable bouncy and appearances by the Classic Clowns. The children’s area will be located in the VFW parking lot.

Donald Hands, a native of South Fork, will conduct a genealogy presentation at

1 p.m. Saturday at the library.

“He will show families how to track their ancestry,” Lang said. “We hope people come early and stay late to enjoy all our wholesome family fun.”

Family fun

What: South Fork Area Heritage Days.

Where: South Fork Borough.

When: Thursday through Sunday.

Admission and parking: Free. $10 charge for banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, 500 Maple St., and wine tasting from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church hall, 550 Main St.

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