Trees for Troops

Promoting Trees for Troops Day, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at Mytrysak Family Tree Farm, near Indiana, are, from left, Mark Hilliard, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce president; Diann Overman, Veterans Outreach program; Kevin Lazor, planning chairman; Laura Herrington, Indiana County Tourist Bureau; Ben Bush, representing Sen. Joe Pittman’s office; Rep. Jim Struzzi; Adriene Smochek, of Struzzi’s office; and Stacey and Brandon Mytrysak and their children Lilly, 5, and Elena, 3.

Area communities will celebrate the upcoming holidays in a variety of ways, both in person and virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a list of holiday happenings, which are subject to change due to the ongoing situation.


Be sure to save the date for Light Up Night in Blairsville, set for Dec. 5 and organized by the Friends of the Blairsville Communities and the Blairsville Community Center.

The Blairsville fire department will take Santa through the neighborhoods at 4 p.m., handing out candy on the way to the historic bandstand and arriving around 5:30.

The luminaria display will surround the bandstand with a list of those remembered, honored and thanked for their service throughout the year. Luminarias are on sale for $5 each by the Friends of the Blairsville Community by calling (724) 459-8588.

As part of the festivities, Christmas music will be broadcast by Ferguson Funeral Home.

The brass section of the Community Band will perform from 4 to 5 p.m. at the bandstand.

Food trucks and craft vendors will be set up at the Diamond from noon to 5:30 p.m.

The light displays donated by Indiana County Parks and Trails and a life-sized nativity scene will be surrounding the bandstand area.

A Cookie Walk will be from noon to 3 p.m., with the merchants distributing the cookies.

There will be a store-decorating contest at the businesses on Market Street.

The Cookie Walk crowd will vote on their favorite store decoration.

A separate door-decorating contest will be performed by the elementary aged children.


The Homer City Fire Department reports that Santa will make an appearance Dec. 11 and to stay tuned for more details.

The Homer City Area Business Association and Homer City Area Women’s Club have reported that the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for cancellation of the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration and Bazaar and the yearly parade and visit from Santa Claus at the fire station.

The association, however, will present the Good Citizen award.

The business group plans to organize a Christmas tree-decorating contest in conjunction with the art department at Homer-Center High School.

HCABA officials mentioned in a report that although traditional holiday season events on the grounds of “firemen’s field” across from the fire station would not be sanctioned by the business group, the fire department may independently plan other activities.


The First Commonwealth Bank It’s a Wonderful Life Festival kicks off Saturday.

Visit with Santa in IRMC Park in North Seventh Street from noon to 5 p.m. All children will receive a special treat.

Small Business Saturday will be offered, with customers earning 10 percent back in Downtown Dollar at participating stores and restaurants to be redeemed and spent like cash in December.

Marvel at live Christmas Tree, holiday lights and take a photo in the InFirst Bank holiday sleigh.

Tour an expanded It’s a Wonderful Life Exhibit at the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Watch a matinee of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the vintage theater, and see the new Jimmy Stewart mural and special Festival of Trees throughout the museum. There is no admission fee to stop in the gift shop.

Santa will also be available from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The festival continues from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 20.

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Vote for a favorite tree in our Christmas Tree Decorating Contest beginning Dec. 4 by dropping change in the Santa Bucket by your favorite tree at IRMC Park. All proceeds will benefit the Teddy Bear Fund Drive.

The public can visit the trees and vote Dec. 4 to 20 on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

The winning tree and donation will be announced at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at IRMC Park.

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Old-fashioned caroling, outdoors and socially distanced, will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16. Meet in IRMC Park to do some singing around the downtown area. Hot chocolate and marshmallows for roasting will be provided.


Light Up Night 2020 has been changed in Saltsburg to scale down the size of the festivities.

There will still be trees along the canal, and children will be able to get letters to Santa and receive a special gift from Santa and his elves.

Organizers hope to provide activities in smaller groupings and are currently working on finalizing plans and releasing information soon.


Trees for Troops Day will be held at Mytrysak Family Tree Farm, 1803 Fleming Road, near Indiana, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5.

Say “Thank you” to all active duty men and women serving our country and purchase a tree individually or contribute toward the purchase of a tree for a service member.

Activities include a concession stand, wagon rides, children’s activities, a visit from Santa, photo opportunities and face painting.

If you are unable to attend that day, you can still contribute to this great cause by contacting Mytrysak’s Family Tree Farm at (724) 463-0570.

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Family Fun Weekends will be offered at Mytrysak’s from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 6, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12.

Activities include a concession stand, wagon rides, children’s activities, a visit from Santa, photo opportunities and face painting. The business will be open through Dec. 21.


The Indiana Area Train Collectors and the Indiana Mall present the 2020 Holiday Store Window Model Train Exhibit from 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13 at the mall.

The display is in store windows across from Kay Jeweler’s in the mall’s center.

There will be no physical access to the display for the public this year due to COVID-19 safeguards and current health concerns.