The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 2, 2013

Family fun: The 25-year-old Forest Hills Festival is still going strong

ST. MICHAEL — The Forest Hills Festival marked its silver anniversary much as it has so many times before: with the bang of fireworks, the aroma of festival fare cooking on grill tops and plenty of music.

“(Making it) 25 years is something. It’s a testament to the good crowds we’ve had and the support we get,” said Paul Kundrod, chief of Adams Township Volunteer Fire No. 2.

The fire company, a longtime festival partner, has organized the event for the past four years, taking the reins in 2010 from longtime planners the 1889 South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club Preservation Society.

Kundrod said the fire department’s vision for the festival is simple: Keep doing what works, and when possible, try to improve on it.

That’s why longtime festival staples return every year, he said.

Approximately 100 craft vendors lined Berwin Wayside Festival Park on Sunday, selling a wide range of items like homemade dips, lamps and painted wooden yard ornaments.

Thirty-six food vendors also were busy serving hot sausage sandwiches, cheesesteaks, funnel cakes and other festival goodies, while bands continuously played on the ground’s stage.

Edith Vitez of Mine 37 said the “good food” and basket raffles bring her back each year.

She said she hasn’t had much luck on the baskets yet, and was hopeful this was her year.

“I always come with my family,” she said. “The grandkids love the games.”

It’s all fun and games for Gabriel Nginyo, too.

He said he spent the first hour of his visit playing golf and other children’s games or gliding down an inflatable slide.

His father, Joe, had a much simpler goal.

“I came to eat,” he said, showing off a plate of funnel cake and a package of deer jerky.

Thanks partly to cooperative weather, the Labor Day weekend event has been a hit so far, Kundrod said.

Sunday night’s event concluded with the annual fireworks display by Northern Cambria-based Starfire Corp.

It’s a $10,500 expense paid entirely by donations and corporate sponsors, Kundrod and fire company President Kirk Moss said.

“We’re so thankful for the support we get,” Kundrod said.

Other festival proceeds benefit the park itself, he said.

The event continues today. Admission and parking are free.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths July 31, 2014

    July 30, 2014

  • Smaller payout to seniors urged

    State Lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 29, 2014

  • Portage ambulance aid will add portable CPR device, other tools

    Federal funding awarded to Portage Area Ambulance Association will soon put “a third man” alongside their two-person crews when emergencies occur, ambulance operations manager Edward Nelson said.

    July 29, 2014

  • paint_twp building Paint Township considers offering part of building for rent

    Four years after Paint Township built an addition at the Basin Drive building to house its growing police department, much of the new space likely will be offered for rent this fall because the township supervisors say it's no longer needed.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Rockwood hotel will soon be history

    The historic – but dilapidated – Merchants Hotel in Rockwood is expected to be razed soon.
    On Tuesday, Somerset County’s three commissioners unanimously agreed to a demolition plan for the building, which was constructed in the 1880s. The arrangement calls for a private citizen, William Nair, to tear down the structure at 703 Main St. in exchange for being allowed to keep any salvageable materials.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 30, 2014

  • ATV blast ready to roll at Rock Run

    Organizers are keeping the spirit of the Fisher’s ATV Reunion at Rock Run Recreation Area alive despite losing the support of the award-winning Outdoor Channel TV show “Fisher’s ATV World.” Now called the Rock Run ATV Summer Blast, the event will continue to offer demonstration rides, motor competitions, product vendors, live music, camping and trail riding.

    July 29, 2014

  • Culvert 1 Preservationists use age-old method at historic site

    Preservation work on two historic culverts associated with the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has been completed. The culverts were reconstructed using a variety of techniques, including dry stone masonry, which was used to build the culverts more than 180 years ago.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 7/30/2014

    July 29, 2014

  • Officer, civilian motorist injured in crash

    A Johnstown police officer who was responding to an emergency and one other driver were taken to the hospital after they were injured in a three-vehicle accident around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday on Railroad Street at the intersection with Clinton Street and Church Avenue.
    The Johnstown Fire Department said that the three occupants of the third vehicle were not injured.

    July 29, 2014


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads