Tag Archives: Ebensburg

Ebensburg readies for Dickens of a Christmas

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

It’s time once again for Ebensburg to host its annual Victorian-themed holiday event, Dickens of a Christmas. Visitors can “journey back in time” to experience an old-fashioned holiday Dec. 2 through Dec. 4.

Now in its 11th year, Dickens of a Christmas features Christmas displays, craft shows, ice sculptures, a parade and more.

“Ebensburg is all about community and, as with all of our events, we try to foster a sense of community among our residents and guests,” said Danea Koss, community development director for Ebensburg Borough and Ebensburg Main Street Partnership. “This event is a great opportunity for families and friends to start or continue Christmas traditions here in Ebensburg, like attending our Christmas parade, breakfast with Santa, caroling in the snow and so many other things.”

Koss said the entire community comes together during the three-day weekend in order to help make it a success.

Events kick off Dec. 2 with activities at the Cambria County Courthouse. County employees decorate the row offices in the theme of a Victorian-era Christmas, and the courthouse remains open at times throughout the weekend for visitors.

A light-up ceremony is held at Kimball Park that evening. Families can then attend Cresson Lake Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Cabaret,” head to a family movie night at the Young Peoples Community Center or attend a holiday open house at the Cambria County Historical Society.

Borough Manager Dan Penatzer said that the weekend allows people to stop and enjoy all of the elaborate Christmas displays and decorations.

A display of large lighted characters depicting the “12 Days of Christmas” in Veterans Park is a favorite among children. Burning cresset baskets will be set afire and glow again in Penn Eben Park and Kimball Park.

Saturday’s events include four craft shows, the Christmas Parade and “Breakfast with Santa.” The latter, which begins at 8 a.m. is to be hosted by the Ebensburg Woman’s Club and take place inside the Young Peoples Community Center. Children’s activities are scheduled at the center beginning at 2 p.m.

The Christmas parade is to start at 11 a.m. at the Ebensburg Public Library along Highland Avenue. It is to travel south on North Center Street until it reaches the intersection at High Street, then turn right on West High Street, turn left onto Julian Street and go back to where it started.

New this year is a bike race and winter bash that has been organized by Pour on Center. In addition to the race and bash, a pig roast is scheduled for 9 a.m.

First United Church of Christ members plan to present a strings and Christmas recital, followed by a pipe organ recital at Ebensburg Presbyterian Church. Meanwhile, in addition to their gingerbread contest, the historical society is to hold two holiday open houses.

In addition to Cresson Lake Playhouse’s “A Christmas Cabaret,” other productions include Mount Aloysius College’s “A Madrigal Christmas Story” (to be held Saturday and Sunday) and Grace Church’s “The Christmas Guest,” which are to be presented during their Dickens Dessert Theater.

Visitors can also participate in self-guided tours of the former county prison, view a live nativity, and enjoy sleigh and carriage rides through town. Weather permitting, a bonfire will be held and sledding opportunities will be offered.

Local businesses have been encouraged to decorate their storefronts, and some restaurants are offering special Victorian-themed menus. Those who attend are encouraged to wear Victorian-era costumes.

For a complete schedule of events, visit www.EbensburgDickens.com or call 814-472-8780.

Castle Pub in Ebensburg a hit with working-class crowd

Photo by Cody McDevitt. The bar inside the Castle Pub in Ebensburg.
Photo by Cody McDevitt.
The bar inside the Castle Pub in Ebensburg.

By CODY McDEVITT
codym@dailyamerican.com

A blue-collar feel prevails at Castle Pub during the day. 

It’s the group of people who speak plainly and to the point. 

And it’s a nice change of pace for those who are accustomed to the more swank places. 

“There’s not a lot of pubs in Ebensburg,” Manager Mark Bennett said. “It’s different. We’re trying to do more with the food. And the castle theme is unique. Not a lot of bars (are) like it.” 

Castle Pub, at 122 North Center St. in the county seat, is a smoking establishment that features 11 drafts on tap and a number of macros and craft beers in bottle form. The food is typical bar food, with the highlights being wings and the stromboli. 

Though the bar is associated with the tougher men out there, it also offers musical entertainment for the kids who want to hear a good band or deejay.
 
“We do what we can to accommodate everyone,” Bennett said.

Downstairs is a non-smoking bar that employees and drinkers refer to as “the dungeon.” And there’s a dancing room upstairs for people who want to boogie. 

The restaurant recently transitioned into new ownership. Gene Hagens took over the business in June of last year. The customers kept coming with the change of leadership.

Brian Ponch, 54, has been a longtime frequenter of the establishment. And he plans on continuing to be. 

“I think they’ve done a good job with this place,” Ponch said. 

“It’s a nice place to come after work. I enjoy the blue-collar crowd that comes in when I’m here.”  

Ebensburg to celebrate Christmas — Victorian style

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/EbensburgCommunityEvents/
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/EbensburgCommunityEvents/

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

A Christmas parade is held every year in downtown Ebensburg as part of the community’s three-day event “Dickens of a Christmas.”

This year’s parade theme is “A Victorian Christmas,” and organizers are seeking participants who want to join the fun.

“The Christmas parade is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and show pride for your civic or nonprofit group, school or organization,” said Danea Koss, Ebensburg Borough’s community development director. “The Christmas parade is one of the classic small-town community celebrations. It brings everyone — young and old — downtown to see the beautiful floats, school bands, local emergency service organizations (and) first responders, the grand marshal and, of course, Santa Claus!”

Those who wish to participate are asked to dress in Victorian costume or decorate a float. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the first- through third-place float winners.

The parade is scheduled to take place Dec. 5 beginning at 11 a.m. The route is approximately 1 mile in length.

“All the participating groups line up at the Ebensburg Public Library and turn left out of their lot onto Highland Avenue, right onto North Center Street, left onto West High Street and then another left on North Julian Street, right on Highland Avenue and back to the library parking lot,” Koss said.

Additional information, including parade entry forms, is available online at www.EbensburgDickens.com or by calling 814-472-8780. Entries must be received by Nov. 9.

“We work with the Dauntless Fire Department on the lineup ahead of time, so we give an early deadline,” Koss said. “We will still accommodate groups that want to sign up after the deadline, but we like to have an idea how many groups we will have participating. It also gives us time to follow up with anyone we haven’t heard from.”

“Dickens of a Christmas” is a family-friendly Victorian celebration inspired by Charles Dickens and the Victorian era. It is scheduled to take place Dec. 4 through Dec. 6 this year.

Playhouse introduces Halloween Costume Ball

HalloweenCostumes

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Cresson Lake Playhouse is hosting its inaugural Halloween Costume Ball on Oct. 30.

The ball is to be held at Young People’s Community Center, located at 300 Prave St. in Ebensburg, from 7 to 10 p.m.

“This is a new event for us,” playhouse Business Director Cathy Seymour said. “The playhouse is always looking for fundraiser ideas because, as a nonprofit, we are always in need of funds. We realized there was nothing like this offered in our immediate area, and we felt who better to fill this niche than a theater.

“I think it will be really fun to transform the YPCC into a great, scary locale. We have a very creative team on the decorations, and I feel sure the participants will love experiencing the transformation.”

Those who attend are encouraged to wear their best costumes. Prizes will be awarded for Best Costume, Scariest Costume, Funniest Costume and Best Couples Costume.

“It’s a great opportunity to dress up and be someone else for the evening,” Seymour said.

A DJ will play music throughout the evening, and Seymour said that a few “creepy witch sisters” will make an appearance. A light menu featuring food and refreshments will be catered by Taddei’s of Gallitzin and Candy’s of Ebensburg. A cash bar will also be available.

There is a fee to attend. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.cressonlake.com or call 814-472-4333. Tickets can be purchased at the door as wel.

“Not only will this be a fun event, but it is also a way to support and help Cresson Lake Playhouse, which is a cultural jewel in our area,” Seymour said. “I want to invite everyone to bring their most creative game to the table in costuming, and we can’t wait to see how that turns out.”

New Ebensburg pub pays tribute to first responders

Staff photo by Bruce Siwy.
Staff photo by Bruce Siwy.

By BRUCE SIWY
bruces@ourtownjohnstown.com

EBENSBURG — Gary Sloan doesn’t wear his appreciation for first responders on his sleeve: He hangs it throughout his new establishment.

Our Station House in Ebensburg is a bar and restaurant that — as plainly stated in bold letters on the back wall — is “dedicated to the men and women of emergency services.”

“You develop a strong respect for the people who serve the community in that way,” Gary said, surrounded by the jackets, helmets and other firefighter memorabilia hung proudly throughout his bar. The items were donated by fire companies from across several counties.

“I’d like to have as many departments represented as possible.”

The Sloans are known in the region for this type of work. Gary’s mother was a paramedic, his father joined an EMS when Gary was 3 years old and his uncle Gregg is the chief at Revloc Volunteer Fire Co.

Gary, meanwhile, dreamed of owning a bar and restaurant that paid homage to firefighters and EMTs.

He was working as a bartender in Ocean City, Maryland, when family friends who owned the Ebensburg Beer & Sandwich Express hinted that they were willing to sell. The express had been open for about 11 years and, prior to that, had been called the West End Tavern for about 50 years.

Photo credit: www.facebook.com/OurStationHouse
Photo credit: www.facebook.com/OurStationHouse

Since re-opening Super Bowl weekend, patrons have noticed few similarities to the old establishment beyond the menu offerings of American pub-style food and the fact that families — and non-firefighters — are welcome.

The interior has been completely remodeled with new walls, flooring and an altered layout. This new look is credited mostly to Gary’s uncle.

Gregg said the renovations took a few months to complete, and added that the reaction to Our Station House has been overwhelming, citing instances where firefighters have come from places such as Clearfield County just to check it out.

“It’s amazing,” he said.

But the first responder theme is about more than just honoring those who serve, according to the Sloans. It’s also about reminding and encouraging people to serve.

“It’s just not as easy as it used to be,” Gregg said of being a firefighter. He noted that training hours and costs have gone up tremendously over the years.

At Revloc, for example, there are about 18 firefighters who respond to calls. That number was doubled about 15 years ago, Gregg said.

“Everybody has to work there’s not a lot of time left to volunteer.”