By Tyler A. McNeil/The Leader-Herald
JOHNSTOWN — When the parade ends Friday, the holiday cheer isn’t expected to subside on Main Street.
Organizers from the city’s newly revitalized Tourism and Special Events committee, in conjunction with the Downtown Johnstown Business & Professional Association, are breathing new life into the annual Colonial Stroll.
“From what I understood, they would go to the parade and then a lot of them would go home after the parade was over,” said Gary (Uncle Vito) Locatelli, city promoter for the Tourism and Special Events committee. “Now we’ve got something with all this different variety of acts to hang around not only before the parade, but after the parade.”
The annual holiday parade, including 40 different partners and counting, is expected to begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, spanning from South Chase Street to Sir William Johnson Park on West Main Street. It’s slated to last between 30 to 45 minutes.
According to Locatelli, a longtime PYX 106 radio host, the business-centered 25-year-event failed to bring in substantial traffic. The new event features a wider medley of performances from dancers, magicians and musicians in an effort to attract parade-goers to downtown businesses.
Here’s what to expect:
From 4 to 9 p.m: Refreshments, raffle prizes and sweet offerings will be available at Johnson Hall State Historic Site an 17 North William St. Free shuttle services will also be available onsite.
At 5 p.m: Musician and historian Gary Van Slyke will play some old-fashioned jams at Vishnu Music at 18 West Main St.
At 5:30 and 7:30 p.m: Magician extraordinaire John Hoffman will perform at Howard Hanna’s Realty Office at 3 Church St. Free candy, cookies and hot chocolate are included.
From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1 N. Market St., will host a group of Johnstown High School musicians under the direction of JHS music teacher, Andrew LaCopolla
From 7 to 8 p.m: Multi-instrumentalist roots singer Deb Cavanaugh will perform some seasonal tunes at Home Flavor LLC at 18 N. Market St.
From 7:30 to 9 p.m: Native Johnstonian and roots musician Bill Ackerbauer will play at Second Wind Coffee at 32 West Main St.
After the parade:
- Students from the Romano Acro Dance Academy will perform in front of their studio at 38 West Main St.
- Johnstown High School bagpiper Gary McCoy will play some traditional holiday favorites at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
- Children can visit with Santa at Sir William Johnson Park.
- Kids can touch, climb up and sit in the city’s utility and emergency service vehicles on Main Street.
- Author Heidi Sprouse will read children’s holiday stories at Mysteries bookstore on 144 West Main St.
Throughout the evening:
- Parade-goers can pose for selfies in front of the First Presbyterian Church’s Nativity scene at 37 South Market St.
- McLemon’s women’s clothing boutique on West Main Street has store specials, free cookies, giveaways and door prizes throughout the night.
The family-focused event took about six weeks to plan and about $1,200 for booking entertainers.
Wintry weather would be a desired touch, Locatelli said.
“It would be nice to have snow that evening,” said the promoter. “As long as it’s not raining and it’s not freezing cold, I think we’ll have a good turnout.”
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil