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Labor Day Weekend Festival Festivus!

August 30, 2013 - Jim Price
As Labor Day weekend marks the symbolic ending of summer, Cambria County takes the spotlight with a number of festivals, fairs and events showcasing live music and fun times.

Labeled by many residents as Johnstown’s homecoming celebration, the annual Cambria City Ethnic Festival returns to Johnstown’ historic Cambria City neighborhood on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Carrying on the tradition started when the National Folk Festival took up residence in Cambria City in the early 1990s, the Cambria City Ethnic Festival features food, activities and entertainment spanning several blocks throughout Cambria City, with churches, arts centers, pubs and lounges providing the stages for the entertainment. Also extremely popular during this festival is the food, featuring ethnic European food favorites such as pierogies, halushki, halupki, goulash, and much more. Admission to the festival is free.

Also in Johnstown, the 43rd annual Log House Arts Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County near Westmont. The emphasis of this festival is arts and crafts, but two musical acts will perform during the course of both days. Admission is free.

Near the Johnstown Flood National Memorial site, the annual Forest Hills Festival takes place at Berwind Westside Park in St. Michael from Saturday through Monday. Plenty of arts and crafts vendors will be present, along with a wide menu of food and refreshments, children’s activities and live music. Admission to this festival is also free.

Patton Park in Patton will come alive with classic cars and live music on Sunday with the annual Patton Park Car Show and Concert, kicking off at noon. Classic cars will be on display, and live music will be provided by local performers Punk Fiction, Jack and the Country Gentlemen, Shades of Leather and Driving Sideways. There will also be food and refreshments, plus park train rides and other children’s activities. Admission is free.

The annual Cambria County Fair kicks off Sunday at the fairgrounds in Ebensburg, and will feature the popular agricultural and animal displays, plentiful food, and live music during the first three nights on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

For fans of live music, guns and target shooting, The Blair County Game, Fish & Forestry Association presents their popular annual Ox Roast event on Sunday and Monday at their headquarters, formerly the Riggles Gap Sportsmen’s Association between Riggles and Homers Gaps. The popular ox roast sandwiches and other great food will be available, as well as guns and a wide variety of target shooting options, arts and crafts vendors, and live acoustic music by The Backyard Rockers starting at 1 p.m. both days.

For something a little bit different musically, Altoona’s historic Baker Mansion hosts the Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir on its lawn on Sunday afternoon, part of the mansion’s summer concert series. Described on their Facebook page as featuring a “rotating assortment of cads, rogues, harlots, and small children,” the nearly 20-member Choir – decked out in pirate and seafaring garb – performs a colorful selection of sea shanties, pirate songs and other sing-alongs. The concert begins at 2 p.m., and admission is free.

Indoors, Aldo’s presents the return of national recording group The Screaming on Tuesday night, with opening local bands Hate Grenade and Left For Dead. The Screaming features Chris Hall, former singer and guitarist for ‘90s-era techno rockers Stabbing Westward. The show starts at 9 p.m., and admission is $5 per person.

And on Saturday night, the Altoona music scene bids farewell to a musician who has graced local stages since the late 1970s, as one of his current bands plays its swan song performance. Clint Carothers has been playing drums on the Altoona music scene since the days of Black Diamond in the late 1970s. Carothers has been the long-time drummer for Altoona favorites The Front, and has also provided the beats for such well-known area names as Riot Act, Half Tempted, country performer Ricky Lee, and currently Flight 19 and A.X.E. (a band first formed after Carothers’ stint with Black Diamond ended in the late 1970s). The current edition of A.X.E. – Carothers, singer/bassist Denny Frank and Altoona guitar god John McKelvey – will play their final show on Saturday night at Family Pizza & Pub, before Carothers relocates to Nashville to pursue his music career working alongside noted Nashville session ace Bruce Watkins. Carothers’ other group, Flight 19, will move forward with a new drummer, as Paul Caracciolo Jr. takes over behind the kit.

There are lots of performers and shows to check out, so support live music this weekend and upcoming week! And if you plan to celebrate heavily while doing so, please designate a driver or call a cab!

Here is a full listing for live music on area stages this weekend and the coming week:


Cambria City Ethnic Festival, Johnstown:

St Mary's – 5th Ave: 4 p.m. – Jerry Intihar Band, 7 p.m. – YUM

Resurrection Parish - 4th Ave: 6 p.m. – PT Cruiser

Aces Lounge: 8 p.m. – Johnstown Classic Rockers

ACRP Irish Pub – 10th Ave.: 7 p.m. – Tree the Band

ArtWorks: 7:30 p.m. – Brian Bearer, 9 p.m. – Flo N'at

Holy Cross: 6 p.m. – Bo Moore, 7 p.m. – Midnight Graffitti

Venue Of Merging Arts (VOMA): 4 p.m. – Jason Dewitt, 5 p.m. – Jessica Saenz, 6 p.m. – Fine Wives, 7 p.m. – Anti-Corn League, 8 p.m. – Kulani Dance Group, 9:40 p.m. – Stone Bridge Blues Band

The Pastimes at Broad Top Fair, Broad Top City (starts 7 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Bavarian Hall, Altoona (starts 8 p.m.)

Dunnings Creek at Zach’s, Altoona

Drew Dodson at Aldo’s, Altoona

Money Shot at Schellsburg VFW, Schellsburg


Cambria City Ethnic Festival, Johnstown:

St Mary's – 5th Ave.: 1 p.m. – Harold Betters, 5 p.m. – Slavjane Ethnic Dancers, 7 p.m. – YUM

Resurrection Parish - 4th Ave.: 1 p.m. – The Rhinelanders, 5:30 p.m. – The Michael O'Brian Band

Aces Lounge: 4 p.m. – The All-Star Jam Band

ACRP Irish Pub – 10th Ave.: 2 p.m. - Dead Irish Blues (inside), 2 p.m. – Irish Pretenders (outside), 7 p.m. – Tree the Band

ArtWorks: 2:30 p.m. – Johnstown Concert Ballet, 8 p.m. – Theresa and Ray

Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Center: 5 p.m. - The Backyard Rockers, 7 p.m. – Johnstown Folk Dancers

Holy Cross: 3 p.m. – Split Resistance, 7 p.m. – The Conniptions

Venue Of Merging Arts (VOMA): 3 p.m. – Tertium Quid, 4 p.m. – Painted By Millions, 5 p.m. – Justin Garman, 6 p.m. – The Cash Review, 7 p.m. – The Crew of the Half Moon, 8:20 p.m. – One Track Mynd, 9:40 p.m. – The Groove Gathering

Wagner-Ritter House: 1 p.m. – Garden Day

One Night Stand, Walt & Jackie and Fuse at Forest Hills Festival, St. Michael

Rosie & the Jammers and The Sharptones at Log House Arts Festival, Johnstown

Jim Mosey at Beach Concession, Canoe Creek State Park (starts 2 p.m., free admission)


A.X.E. at Family Pizza, Altoona

Old No. 7 and Railroad City Murder Machines at Aldo’s, Altoona

Nobody’s Heroes at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

PennSoulVania (hip hop artists) at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Shallow Nine at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

Matt Pletcher at Zach’s, Altoona (starts 10 p.m.)

Saving Jake at Duncansville VFW, Duncansville (cancer benefit for Deb Heeter, starts 8 p.m.)

Locked and Loaded at Cresson American Legion, Cresson

Craig Fitzpatrick at City Hotel, Northern Cambria

One Adam 12 at Jay’s Place, Ebensburg

Fail at Castle Pub, Ebensburg

The Sitch at American Legion, Bedford

Backlash at Pioneer Campground, Entriken (starts 8 p.m.)

Force Of Habit at Huntingdon American Legion, Huntingdon

The Pastimes at the Eagle’s Nest, Broad Top City

Dakota at Schellsburg VFW, Schellsburg


The Backyard Rockers at Blair County Game, Fish & Forestry Association (Riggles Gap Sportsmen’s Club), Altoona (Ox Roast event, starts 1 p.m.)

The Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir at Baker Mansion, Altoona (starts 2 p.m., free admission)

Cambria City Ethnic Festival, Johnstown:

St Mary's – 5th Ave.: 1 p.m. – The Rhythm Masters, 5 p.m. – Cajun Norm & the Jam Session Band

Resurrection Parish – 4th Ave.: 10 a.m. – Polka Mass with Rosie & The Jammers, 12 noon – The Whiskey River Panhandlers, 4 p.m. – Full Kilt

Aces Lounge: 1:30 p.m. – The Rhinelanders, 8 p.m. – Stone Bridge Blues Band

ArtWorks: 3 p.m. – Ed Schoeneck

Holy Cross: 2 p.m. – Broken Spoke

Venue Of Merging Arts (VOMA): 1 p.m. – AM Squared, 2 p.m. – Melville Walbeck, 3 p.m. – YRS, 4 p.m. – Striped Maple Hollow, 5 p.m. – Jim Platt, 6:20 p.m. – Rick Cosgrove with Blue Piranha, 7:40 p.m. – Anna Pihs

Hard Rock, Coco, & Joe, The Runaways, Phil McCaulley (Elvis impersonator) and The Conniptions at Forest Hills Festival, St. Michael:

D’Verse and Dead Irish Blues at Log Cabin Festival, Johnstown

Patton Park Car Show and Concert at Patton Park, Patton; featuring Punk Fiction, Jack and the Country Gentlemen, Shades of Leather, and Driving Sideways (starts 12 noon)

The Country Travelers at Beach Concession, Canoe Creek State Park (starts 2 p.m., free admission)


The House Band at Shawnee Fire Company, Schellsburg (Ox Roast and Street Fair, starts 6 p.m.)

One Brick Shy at Williamsburg American Legion, Williamsburg (starts 6 p.m.)

Maggie Rose and Charlie Worsham at Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg (starts 7 p.m.)

Left For Dead, Ambush and the Backyard Rockers at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 8 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona


The Backyard Rockers at Blair County Game, Fish & Forestry Association (Riggles Gap Sportsmen’s Club), Altoona (Ox Roast event, starts 1 p.m.)

Calvary Cross, Rosie & the Jammers and Johnstown Button Box Polka Group at Forest Hills Festival, St. Michael


Dustin Lynch at Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg (starts 7 p.m.)


High School Band Night at Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg (starts 6 p.m.)

The Dreaming (featuring former Stabbing Westward singer Chris Hall), Left for Dead and Hate Grenade at Aldo’s, Altoona

Ty Ayers (acoustic) at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona


Triple Threat at Heritage Plaza, Altoona (starts 7 p.m., free admission)

Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg

Jack and the Country Gentlemen at Clair’s Ashville Inn, Ashville (starts 6 p.m.)

Wertz & Pletcher at 4D’s Lounge (upstairs), Altoona

Open Mic/Jam Night at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)


Downtown Live! with Felix & the Hurricanes at The Diamond, Hollidaysburg

Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg

Full Kilt at Molly Maguire’s, Altoona (starts 8 p.m.)

Steve Summerhill at Jethro’s, Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Matt Pletcher at Zach’s, Altoona (starts 8 p.m.)

(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)

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Blog Photos

Pat Boland of local Celtic rockers Full Kilt, performing under the Resurrection Parish tent during last year's Cambria City Ethnic Festival. Full Kilt returns to Resurrection to perform at this year's festival on Sunday afternoon.


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