Tag Archives: Ethnic Fest

Cambria City organizations partnering for Ethnic Fest

Our Town Correspondent

Over the past few years at Ethnic Fest, many organizers, staff members and volunteers noticed that Venue of Merging Arts (VOMA) and its neighboring nonprofit arts organization, Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue, were sometimes competing for eyes and ears.

So, for the first time, VOMA and Bottle Works will be working together this year to improve the Third Avenue section of the festival.

“We are excited to partner with VOMA this year,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “For some years, our music was literally competing against each other. Combining our resources, in terms of volunteers, staff and facilities, allows us to make this a better experience for everyone.”

Ethnic Fest weekend, which is to take place in Cambria City from Sept. 2-4 this year, spans seven blocks and features seven different stages, plus vendors and tents under which to dance and socialize. Other nonprofits, as well as local business and churches, are involved every year, too.

Bottle Works’ and VOMA’s Third Avenue Arts Stage is to offer a diverse array of talent and musical genres.

Bands on the line up include: Crew of the Half Moon (original rock/folk); Memphis Hill (blues rock); Habatat (blues/rock/funk/jam); Trailheads (funk/jam); Endless Mike and the Beagle Club (indie rock); Adam Ernst (country); Chrome Moses (blues rock); Beauty Slap (future brass thunder funk); Jazz Trip (jazz); Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers (bluegrass); Swampcandy (fusiongrass); and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (indie rock). Local acts Dave DiStefano, Black Cat Moan and even the Kulani West African Drum and Dance Troupe round out the Third Avenue Arts Stage lineup.

“There is truly something for everyone at this event,” said Adam Mundok, an event coordinator for the 3rd Avenue Arts Stage. “In the past, we have estimated the overall festival attendance in the thousands, and I think we are on par to see those numbers again this year.”

For more information about this year’s 27th annual Cambria City Ethnic Festival, visit cambriacityethnicfestival.webs.com.

Cambria City prepares to host Ethnic Fest

Our Town Correspondent

Cambria City is about to fill with dancers, musicians and plenty of Eastern European food once again for the annual Ethnic Festival. 

This year’s event runs from Sept. 4 through Sept. 6, but some participants are starting things a little early.

“We are actually kicking off Ethnic Fest weekend on Thursday, Sept. 3,” Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. The organization plans to host The Six, a band composed of members of The Clarks and Rusted Root.

“We’re just going to open up the garage doors and let the band play. It should be a fun time and a great kickoff to the weekend,” Rizzo said.

Throughout the weekend Bottle Works will feature a variety of entertainment and also open up the displays in their center as they have in the past. This allows some of their artists to sell goods including jewelry and photography.

“We’re not big on food — I’ll let everyone else worry about that,” Rizzo said. “We’re here to bring the art. That’s what people look to us for.”

She added that a draw for many people is the performance by the Johnstown Concert Ballet that has become a staple for many who go to the Bottle Works during the festival.

Traditional foods associated with the festival including halupki, haluski and hot sausage can be found at St. Mary’s Byzantine Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Resurrection Roman Catholic Parish, each with a dish not offered by the other churches. St. Mary’s offers a sweet pastry called cherige as well as Hungarian goulash, Resurrection will have potato pancakes and shepherd’s pie, and Holy Cross will have palacinki, which is a crepe-like dish.

Holy Cross will also feature pulled pork and lamb — on Sept. 6 only — cooked in what festival co-chairman Paul Kushner described as a mobile barbecue unit. Kushner said that he and Patrick Kelly have worked closely with a local veterans association on this year’s festival.

“Every year we pick a different theme to feature,” Kushner said. “We usually pick a nonprofit and place that in our advertising, give them a booth outside of our church and give them 10 percent of the proceeds we make at the festival. We also put out cans for additional donations.”

He added in the past organizations like the West End Food Pantry, the St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Gabriel Project were beneficiaries.

For the third year the Alternative Community Resource Program, also known as ACRP, will be teaming up with the Ancient Order of Hibernians to host The Irish Corner at Columba on 10th.

“The (Hibernians) first approached ACRP in 2013 to form a partnership and co-host an event that would make up for the lack of Irish festivities at the ethnic festival in recent years and to bring back to life the upper end of Chestnut Street,” ACRP marketing coordinator Camette Standley said. 

“The main goal for this partnership is to provide a family-friendly event that celebrates Irish heritage and brings attention to the traditions and history of St. Columba. We are happy to have the opportunity to offer such an event again this year.”

She added that the location will offer Irish foods including: Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, corned beef and Reuben sandwiches, Irish soda bread, potato soup, Irish mac ‘n cheese and scones.

Various local Irish bands including The Michael O’Brian Band and Full Kilt will play at the location. Additional music will be provided by Ace’s and the Venue Of The Merging Arts, also known as VOMA, as well as the churches. 

Various craft and food vendors will fill the festival that will also feature play areas at Resurrection, on Sept. 5 only, and ACRP. There will be a polka mass at Resurrection with Rosie and the Jammers on Sept. 6.