JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Historical Society will host its first-ever “Jail N Bail” fundraiser event Saturday to raise money for its three main historical buildings.
The event — running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday —will be conducted off West Main Street in the Sir William Johnson Downtown Park and the park’s Charles Jenner Memorial Bandshell.
“Enjoy entertainment and history while they do their time!” the society is advertising.
In keeping with the historical theme, participating lawbreakers will be arrested and charged with violation of Colonial-era laws and will need to raise $100 cash bail for release. They will be incarcerated in either the downtown pillary at the “town square” of West Main Street and North William Street, or the city’s downtown Information Booth “slammer” if the other “stocks” are too claustrophobic.
All proceeds of this event will go toward helping to maintain, restore, and make major repairs to the Johnstown Historical Society’s three historical sites — the Museum, Drumm House, and Jimmy Burk Inn.
“We have never done this,” society board member Chris Simek said Monday.
She came up with the concept of Johnstown’s “Jail N Bail” fundraiser based on similar events that have been staged in other communities.
“Everybody thinks it’s a good idea,” Simek said. “We are going to transform the information booth into a jail.”
The society is having a good time promoting the event.
“Calling all good citizens of Johnstown! Report your villainous neighbors today!” it states on the society’s Facebook page. “Law Breakers to be placed in the stocks (or slammer if one cannot tolerate such punishments). Bail will be set at $100. Purchase a warrant for $5 to have a friend, family member, or co-worker locked up. They then must raise bail to get out!”
Simek said the society is still putting out the call this week seeking volunteers willing to be “arrested.” To press charges or for more information please call 518-332-9953 or 518-332-7695.
Assistant City Court Judge Michael Viscosi will be meting out justice as a “judge” in the bandshell.
Simek said that some of the notable citizens who are already planning to break Colonial law on Saturday include: city police Chief David Gilbo, Mayor Vern Jackson, Officer Eric Johnson, City Historian Noel Levee, local funeral director Brian Barnett, and author Heidi Sprouse.
“We wanna be freed,” Sprouse implored Monday.
Simek stated: “We have a lot of great people who have stepped up to volunteer.”
She said the fundraiser is designed to raise as much money as possible, but if family members want to contribute smaller amounts collectively such as $20 or $10 among several people, it will also go toward the $100 bail.
“Our constable is currently preparing warrants for the arrest of our mayor and certain members of the Police Department,” the society says. “Other warrants are in process as we continue to seek out villains … The public will start seeing wanted posters in the downtown storefronts. Sign up to have fun and to support our efforts to maintain historical sites in the city. Wouldn’t your family and friends love to take a picture of you in the stocks or in a jail cell?”
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]