Thousands Expected at Richland Festival

by: Chad Mearns


Approximately 15,000 visitors are expected to attend the fourth annual Richland Community Days this weekend.

The two-day festival will be located along Theatre Drive and Schoolhouse Road in Richland Township, where activities will include live music, children's entertainment, a car show, a parade, fireworks and more.

"It is providing a gathering place for Richland to be a community because there is no focal point there," festival co-chair Shirley Stuby said.  "Richland Community Days is the event for everybody to get together and talk to their neighbors."

Activities will kick off at 4 p.m. Aug. 12, when food and craft vendors, a community tent for nonprofit groups, game booths, a Civil War re-enactors' encampment and a quilt show at the Highland Community Library will open to the public.  Live music will begin at  5:30 p.m., and a teen dance will close the evening from 9:15 to 11 p.m.

On Aug. 13, a parade along Theatre Drive will mark the unofficial start to the day at 11 a.m.  The parade will include many local organizations, as well as an appearance by the United States Air Force Presidential Honor Guard.

"We're thrilled abut that military presence," festival co-chairperson Jim Miliauskas said.

At noon, the United States Air Force Drill Team will perform at Richland High School's Herlinger Field.  Miliauskas said the team's precision rifle tossing routines and drills will impress those in attendance.

"We think that's a draw.  I saw them perform as a 6-year-old, and that's something I remember to this day," he said. 

Other Saturday activities include an antique car and motorcycle cruise-in along Schoolhouse Road from noon to dusk, the Howl at the Moon 5k Run at 6:30 p.m. and free kids' activities from noon to 8 p.m.

Those who wish to show off their vehicles at the cruise-in are asked to approach Schoolhouse Road via Vo-Tech Drive.  The cruise-in made its festival debut last year, with approximately 50 vehicles on display, entertainment committee volunteer Duaine Detrick said.

"Hopefully, this is going to be an annual thing.  It's a nice addition to the festival, and it's free.  It's nice for people to come at look at all the cars."

The children's activities will include a crafts workshop sponsored by Home Depot, games, clowns, inflatable rides, a karate and gymnastics area, a synthetic ice skating rink and mountain of snow from Planet Ice and more.

Detrick said one notable change to this year's entertainment is the addition of a second stage to allow constant music during the event.

"The main focus is to have a variety of musical entertainment, which includes everything from rock to oldies to Celtic, jazz, big band and acoustic acts," he said. 

Friday's performers include the Johnstown Civic Band at 5:30 p.m., Never Enough at 6:30 p.m, Denise Baldwin at 6:30 p.m. and The Conniptions at 9 p.m.  Popular teen band Allegory will perform at the teen dance.

Musicians set to perform Saturday include Denise Canby and Joe Tirpak at noon; Tree at 1 p.m.; Hard Rok, Koko and Joe at 3:30 p.m.; Jazz in Your F ace at 3:30 p.m.; Flood City Brass at 6 p.m.; Guitars Around at 6:30 p.m. and Ribbon Grass at approximately 9:30 p.m., immediately following the fireworks.

Stuby said the weekend would not be possible without the help of more than 130 volunteers.

"I'd say we have about 65 to 70 people on the committees, then there's a whole set of other volunteers who show up for the event — that's another 65 or 70 people."

The festival benefits a proposed new facility for East Hills Recreation, among other projects.  Miliauskas said support for the project has been strong, evidenced by a core group of sponsors, including primary sponsor  Somerset Trust Co.

"Since year one, we're over $250,000 with what the sponsorship committee has brought to the event.  For three-plus years, that is just phenomenal.  That's the hard work of the volunteers and the sponsors believing in the event and what it supports," he said.

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