Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BILL HASTINGS' INSIDE INDIANA: Holidays, 'Kaleidoscope,' winds, etc.

by BILL HASTINGS on November 15, 2013 10:50 AM

To whom it may concern —

’Tis the season in Indiana County where myriad holiday activities around the area have already begun and will continue through the new year, including all the annual favorites.

Kicking off the season in Indiana is the annual “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival and Parade, set for Nov. 22 in downtown Indiana.

Events begin at 4 p.m. with an open house and continuous showing of “The Making of It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

The evening continues with family activities from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at North Seventh Street’s IRMC Park, a 7 p.m. parade and the tree-lighting immediately after. Calvary Presbyterian Church, Seventh and Church streets, where the Stewart family worshipped, is holding an open house from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The open house will include historical highlights, organ music, free hot chocolate and a free keepsake. A free 8:15 p.m. showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be featured at the Indiana Theater.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony that had been scheduled for that night at Vinegar Hill steps and IRMC Park has been postponed until the spring because of unforeseen construction delays, according to organizers.


A SIDE NOTE: People attending the parade next Friday may see someone familiar, and no, not just Santa Claus.

Marion Center Area graduate Tom Nesbit, who moved to Mesa, Ariz., in the early 1960s, will be bringing three pieces of antique fire equipment to the parade.

A Creekside native, Nesbit, who was involved with the Indiana Fire Association from 1960 to 1963, will haul a turn-of-the-century fire chief’s buggy, a hose wagon and a chemical wagon the 2,100 miles from Arizona.

He will also appear the next night in Pittsburgh’s holiday parade.


Speaking of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” this email came in from reader Beth Sheely and is a testament to Stewart’s George Bailey character.

“This is the first holiday season we’ve lived in South Jersey, and I was pleasantly surprised to open the Press of Atlantic City and see that they run a contest called the Bailey Award,” she wrote. “It’s nice to see other towns honoring the role Jimmy Stewart made famous. The award is for a for-profit business that has gone above and beyond in the community during the year.”


The Jimmy Stewart Museum will be featured on “Kaleidoscope,” a new 30-minute weekly news magazine show with a focus on west-central Pennsylvania.

The segment will air at 6 p.m. Sunday on WATM ABC Channel 23.

The show is produced by Indiana County native Chris Cameron, owner of Cam-Ron Video Production, and Bob Bender, owner of the lighting company LightBender Productions.

It is hosted by Sara Cameron, wife of Chris, a fill-in anchor for Fox 8 News in Johnstown and former anchor and reporter for WJAC-TV.

The idea of the show “had been in our heads for many years,” Chris said.

Each week, the trio showcases places to travel, interesting people or other regional items of interest.

“We were really looking to do good news, to promote the region as a whole,” Chris said.


The Homer City American Legion and Homer City branch office of S&T Bank are collecting items for homeless veterans this holiday season.

Suggested items include soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and razors. A complete list is available at S&T Bank, 34 N. Main St., Homer City.

Drop items off at the bank or at the American Legion post, 77 Mullen Ave., through Dec. 20.


Another opportunity to give is through the annual eyeglass and hearing aid drive through Bower-Minich Funeral Home and the Indiana Lions Club.

The drive is in its 26th year.

Glasses and hearing aids can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Saturday at the funeral home, 500 Ben Franklin Road South, White Township.

Also at the funeral home, according to Pam Bowser-Minich, are “the ever-popular pocket-size calendars for 2014.”

The public is invited to stop in and pick one up.


The Indiana Symphonic Winds, under the direction of IUP’s Dr. Jason Worzbyt, will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in Fisher Auditorium.

“In just its first year, the orchestra is comprised of some 60 musicians from a wide range of backgrounds, including students from both IUP and local high schools, band directors and music teachers from the general Indiana area, and local community folks with plenty of talent on the instrument of their choice,” according to Tom Betts, who alerted the Gazette to the event.


Marie Winters, of Horses & Hounds along Philadelphia Street in White Township, has set the schedule for the annual pet portraits event with photos by Frank Olma, of OLMA Photography.

Appointments are available for Dec. 6, and walk-ins are welcome on Dec. 7.

Portraits will be ready in time for holiday giving.

For more information, call (724) 349-3144.


Advance tickets are on sale now for the Evergreen Boys & Girls Club’s Mardi Gras Auction March 4 at Benjamin’s Restaurant.

The event includes a silent auction, carnival raffle and food with a New Orleans flair.

Proceeds directly support county youth programs.

There are 200 tickets available for this event, with several ticket packages available.

For more information, visit


Don’t forget the Community Days fundraiser today and Saturday at The Bon-Ton at the Indiana Mall, where customers can purchase a coupon book for $5 and instantly receive a coupon for $10 off an item that is $10 or more, plus a variety of other deals. … Gas prices were at $3.29 across the county this morning. … Please read but don’t bet: IUP 27, Shippensburg 14; Pitt 24, North Carolina 10; Penn State 28, Purdue 10; Steelers 24, Lions 9. … Willie, our ex-shoeshine boy, says if at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.

Good evening!

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