Tag Archives: Westmont

Sinatra impersonator to headline arts center gala

Submitted photo
Bo Wagner, an impersonator of Frank Sinatra, is soon to perform in Westmont.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Community Arts Center of Cambria County is set to host an inaugural fundraising event April 1 at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont.
“Ocean’s 11” is a one-night-only, Las Vegas-themed gala that will feature a buffet dinner, a professional Frank Sinatra impersonator and casino games.

“I really like offering two events per year that are very special and unique,” said Angela Godin, executive director of the arts center. “So many different groups and organizations have done the gaming or casino night events and this year, I really wanted us to put a new, fresh spin on an event that people have really enjoyed.”

“Ocean’s 11” is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Guests are to have an opportunity to enjoy a cash bar, play slots and participate in table games, such as roulette and craps, until 6:30 p.m.

“Participants can buy as many chips or as much ‘fun money’ as they want, and the tickets they receive from their winnings on the slots or table games can then be placed in baskets that will be raffled off at the end of the night,” Godin said.

Dinner, catered by Sunnehanna Country Club, will begin at 6:30 p.m. The buffet menu features: watercress soup, chicken with acini de pepe, garden salad with assorted dressings, Caesar salad, beef brisket, pulled pork, roasted red potatoes, green beans with matchstick carrots, penne pasta with marinara and alfredo sauces, meatballs, shrimp scampi primavera and assorted desserts.

“The Sunnehanna staff really came up with such a unique buffet that has so much variety,” Godin said. “It reflects exactly the type of buffet you’d find in Las Vegas.”

Sinatra impersonator Bo Wagner is to take the stage around 7 p.m.

Wagner, who has been singing and performing since the late 1960s, served as the lead singer of the international recording group The Four Coins beginning in the late ‘70s. The Four Coins performed at major casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, as well as at resorts in Lake Tahoe, and Wagner even had the opportunity to perform in front of Sinatra himself.

“I’ve seen Bo perform numerous times, and he truly sounds like Frank Sinatra,” Godin said. “He continues to perform multiple times a month in Las Vegas, and word has it that he might even be relocating soon, so we’re excited to bring him to Sunnehanna before he leaves the area.”

At 8 p.m., the evening’s basket winners are to be announced.

Tickets for “Oceans 11” are on sale and can be purchased by calling 814-255-6515. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 29.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.

Godin said she’s looking forward to the event and hopes it will be a success.

“I think this event will cater to so many people,” she said.

“Some people will really enjoy the gambling portion of the evening. Some people are true Rat Pack fans and will enjoy every minute of Bo Wagner’s performance. This event is going to hit two really different demographics in one exciting evening.”

Arts center to hold American Girl doll-themed event

Submitted photo An American girl doll set up outside of the log cabin at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County in Westmont.
Submitted photo
An American girl doll set up outside of the log cabin at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County in Westmont.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Community Arts Center of Cambria County is to host its inaugural “American Girl Doll Family-A-Fair” April 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont.

Angela Godin, the arts center’s development director, anticipates strong attendance.

“A lot of people are excited about this,” Godin said. “It’s going to be an all-encompassing, wonderful event that will reiterate arts, American Girl and family fun.”

“American Girl Doll Family-A-Fair” is designed to give American Girl doll fans an opportunity to bring their dolls and enjoy a fun-filled “girlie” afternoon.

“Girls aren’t required to bring their dolls, but the dolls are meant to be included in the event,” Godin said.

A buffet luncheon is to be available beginning at 1:30 p.m. Throughout the event, those who attend are to be able to enjoy free arts and crafts, participate in hair and beauty stations, and browse vendor booths that will feature American Girl doll clothing, accessories and more. At 2:30 p.m., girls and their dolls are to participate in an American Girl Doll parade.

“They can parade around the Sunnehanna ballroom, show off their dolls, wave to everyone and just have a fantastic time,” Godin said.

Those who attend may also register to win door prizes such as the 2016 American Girl Doll of the Year, Lea Clark, as well as miniature American Girl dolls and American Girl doll movies.

Anyone interested in attending “American Girl Doll Family-A-Fair” can call the Community Arts Center of Cambria County at 814-255-6515, or visit the arts center’s website, www.caccc.org, for more information or to purchase tickets. 

There is limited seating, and the registration and payment deadline is April 13. Pre-registration is required. No tickets will be sold at the door.

“American Girl Doll Family-A-Fair” is partially funded by the Alan Gordon Memorial Fund, and proceeds from the event will benefit the arts center.

“I honestly think that from the moment the girls and their families get there to the moment they leave, they’re going to wish that they could stay longer. That’s how jam-packed this event is going to be. There will be so many things to see and do and awesome food to top it all off,” she said.

Godin said that if “American Girl Doll Family-A-Fair” goes as well as she’s expecting, it will likely become an annual event for the nonprofit organization.

“What we’ll do is just expand it year after year,” she said.

Laurelwood to hold holiday fair

BY KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

A holiday-themed vendor fair will take place at LaurelWood Care Center in Westmont on Nov. 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The inaugural “Santa’s Workshop Boutiques” will offer an array of items including baked goods, spa gifts, handmade crafts and home goods, jewelry and more.

“We have a spectrum of fun and exciting vendors coming to our fair,” said Aneesha George, marketing liaison at LaurelWood and Amber Springs. “You will be able to find gifts including candles, essential oils, homemade fudge and baked goods, wreaths, kitchen-ware, home décor, and artisan jewelry, to name a few.

“We think that our guests will appreciate that they can get all their holiday shopping done in one place while benefitting local charities. There will also be photo opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and activities for children while their parents get some shopping done, so there’s something for the whole family.”

A basket raffle is also planned, as is a visit from State Field Representative Jose Luis Otero from Congressman Keith Rothfus’ office. In addition, attendees can donate $5 to LaurelWood’s resident Christmas fund in exchange for 10 to 15 minute on-site chair massages provided by Ligonier-based A Kneaded Rest massage therapy.

“Our main objective with this vendor fair is to spread some cheer to the residents, their families, and their loved ones during the holiday season, all while benefitting two wonderful causes: The Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and The West End Food Pantry,” George said. “Any time we hold an event in our building, the residents are noticeably happier and energetic. We are really hoping for a good turnout so we can see some smiles on our residents’ faces.”

George said that they’re also hoping that this event gets people into the holiday spirit.

“We will be transforming our facility’s lounge into a winter wonderland so it’s inevitable that this event will get people into the holiday spirit,” she said. “It will also remind people that the spirit of the holidays is to give, whether it be to your loved ones as a thoughtful present under the tree, or to a charity in need of your help and good will.”

This event will benefit The Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and The Johnstown West End Food Pantry. Organizers chose these two for specific reasons.

“We chose The West End Food Pantry because we know that around the holiday season, they run low on healthy foods that they’re able to hand out to community members,” George said. “We wanted to help offset that problem this year and help our community stay healthy this holiday season.

“We chose The Children’s Hospital because we have never donated event proceeds to this organization in the past, and several staff members suggested we spread some good will their way. Also, during the holidays their donations take a dip as people spend more of their income on gifts and holiday travel, so we wanted to do our part to help make sure that doesn’t happen this year.”

LaurelWood Care Center is located at 100 Woodmont Road in Johnstown.

In lieu of an admission fee, attendees are asked to donate a non-perishable food item.

George encouraged community members to attend.

“(Attendees) can have some fun, get some bargain shopping done, get into the holiday spirit, put a smile on our residents’ faces, and benefit two worthwhile charities that need our help,” she said.

New arts venue opening in Westmont

Submitted photo. Shayna Blackford poses inside The Johnstown Art Spot with her daughters, Lili and Emma. The Johnstown Art Spot’s grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 5 beginning at 11 a.m.
Submitted photo.
Shayna Blackford poses inside The Johnstown Art Spot with her daughters, Lili and Emma. The Johnstown Art Spot’s grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 5 beginning at 11 a.m.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Like many parents, Shayna Blackford is upset that art classes are fading from school curriculums. So she’s done something about it.

Blackford, a Westmont native, founded The Johnstown Art Spot, a new venue where middle- and high school-aged students can take classes, utilize studio space and socialize with likeminded individuals. Regularly scheduled events will take place at The Johnstown Art Spot throughout the year, including private art and music lessons, crafts classes, guided painting parties, birthday parties and instructional art classes.

“When talking with some teenagers about creative opportunities available to them in the area, they seem to feel too old for the children’s classes, but also out of place for the adult classes,” Blackford said. “I want a place for the middle school and high school kids; I feel it’s an underserved age group.”

The Johnstown Art Spot is housed at 1144 Menoher Blvd. in the former K.I.D.D.S. Castle Daycare, which Blackford described as “a staple of this (Westmont) community.”

K.I.D.D.S. Castle Daycare was operated by the late Ellen Blough for nearly 30 years. Blackford said she hopes to honor Blough by “running something that I feel she would have stood behind.”

“I had a great art program at Westmont and I hope to extend that sort of program to some of the schools that bus to this location that don’t currently have much of an art or music program,” Blackford said.

The Johnstown Art Spot’s grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 5. Beginning at 11 a.m., parents and their children can drop by the venue any time to participate in games and art-themed activities. 

At 2 p.m., middle and high school students can take part in a timed paint war. From 5 to 7 p.m., children between the ages of 2 and 8 can play soccer, while teens can pay a nominal fee for a guided painting on wood class with Sonya Seitz Kowatch, owner of “To Gogh Paint Party.” Then, beginning at dusk, a free movie will be screened outside.

“I encourage all ages to come out on Sept. 5 to see what The Johnstown Art Spot is all about. Although not all of the plans have come to fruition yet, there is something all ages — toddlers, kids, young adults and even adults,” Blackford said. “There will be activities for kids, and displays set up inside to showcase its potential.”

While The Johnstown Art Spot may well turn out to be a dream come true for both students and parents, it’s a dream come true for Blackford, too.

“It’s been my dream to start a place like this since high school,” she said. “My background is certainly not business, so I’ve had to play catch up on that side of things, but I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

Blackford said she has always been interested in art and music. She especially enjoys watercolor painting, woodburning and photography. One of her most accessible pieces of art can be seen under the Route 56 bypass as part of Johnstown’s Pillar Park Project: She and fellow artist Laci Hess painted the tightrope walkers pillar near McDonald’s.

Her two daughters, Emma, 10, and Lili, 8, also have expressed an interest in the arts.

“To me, arts and music are more than just college and career options for our children . . . it’s therapy,” Blackford said. “It’s unwinding and getting to be a part of something with new and old friends. It’s equally as valuable as any sports team that they could belong to.”

In addition to regularly scheduled art-themed events, Blackford plans to make The Johnstown Art Spot available for rent for birthday parties and other special occasions. She also plans to cater to preschoolers during the day; “Mommy and Me” classes are scheduled for every Wednesday beginning at 10:30 a.m. These classes will offer preschoolers a variety of activities in which to participate, including yoga, finger-painting and simple percussion.

“I have missed the preschool and toddler age group since my daughters started school at Westmont,” she said. “Working on simple projects with that age group acts as my art therapy. I think at that age they do as much for me — and my want to make a mess — as I can do for them.”

Since the venue is brand new, Blackford is open to suggestions and ideas in order to make The Johnstown Art Spot best serve the community.

“This place can be used for any type of gathering or class,” she said. “I encourage anyone to email or write with ideas for classes that they would be interested in taking or teaching. I also encourage any high schoolers in the area who want to help to get in touch and get involved with molding the space themselves. It will be centered around kids between the ages of 12 and 18, but is called The Johnstown Art Spot because it is open to all arts — visual, performing and musical. The sky is the limit.”

As for the future, Blackford said she has high hopes for The Johnstown Art Spot. But right now she’s concentrating on a strong grand opening this weekend.

“I hope for The Johnstown Art Spot to last, obviously. My youngest daughter Lili asked if, after I give the business to her, it would be okay for her to pass it down to her kids. I told her, ‘Let’s focus on Labor Day. Huh?’”