Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BILL HASTINGS' INSIDE INDIANA: Homecoming, Downtown, Jimmy, Donatello's, etc.

by BILL HASTINGS on October 04, 2013 11:00 AM

To whom it may concern —

Festivities have begun in Indiana, where thousands are expected to attend a variety of activities related to Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s annual homecoming this weekend.

Among the highlights:

• The parade, which features nearly 70 campus and community units. Always popular is the display of floats built by the university’s Greek organizations. With a theme this year of “Countries Around the World,” floats will represent Chile, Australia, China, Egypt and Greece. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and travel along Philadelphia Street from 13th to Sixth streets, Sixth to Church streets, then Church Street to Oakland Avenue, where it will disband at 11th Street.

• The Kidz Karnival, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, offering games and activities for children.

• And the football game, with a kickoff at 2 p.m. against Millersville, with pre- and post-game events.


The second annual Downtown Indiana Oktoberfest offers a day of fun on Oct. 12 at the Old Borough Building parking lot, 39 N. Seventh St., through Downtown Indiana and Holiday Beverages.

General admission tickets for $35 are still available for the event from 3 to 6 p.m., though VIP tickets, which allow admission to festivities before and afterward, are sold out.

The event offers samples of various beverages and brats from Cunningham Meats, live music and more.

Tickets are available only by advance purchase at Downtown Indiana, Holiday Beverages or The 700 Shop.


Looking for a way to honor a loved one? Or maybe a business or group, or even yourself?

There is still an opportunity to purchase bronze plaques to be placed on the recently rebuilt steps on Vinegar Hill through Downtown Indiana.

There are about 25 plaques left, said Jess Robertson-Bowman, DI’s main street manager. The plaques cost $500 and can accommodate four lines of type, with up to 20 characters per line. In addition to the plaques, four larger landing spots are available.

The landing spots can hold a logo and more lettering, at a cost of $2,500.

For more information, call (724) 463-6110 or visit


There will be some familiar faces at the upcoming holiday events next month, when Indiana kicks off the holiday season with the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival and Parade on Nov. 22.

Both comedian/impersonator Rich Little and Judy Stewart, daughter of Jimmy Stewart, will join the community as grand marshals of the parade and the tree lighting at the courthouse. They will also attend the annual George Bailey dinner on Nov. 23.

Speaking of Jimmy, there will be a showing of Stewart’s U.S. Army Air Corps promotional film “Winning Your Wings” at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Jimmy Stewart Museum Theater as part of Indiana Free Library’s “One Book, One Community” series.

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with professor George Wiley of IUP, with the topic of discussion his 15-volume set on the history of Indiana County during World War II and its contribution to the war effort.


Looking for answers on how the new health care legislation will affect you? The League of Women Voters of Indiana County will offer “Medicare and the Affordable Care Act: Fact vs. Fiction,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Indiana Aging Services Center, 1055 Oak St., Indiana.

The information will be presented by Erin Ninehouser, education and outreach coordinator for the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

She will discuss how Medicare and Medicaid work, how to prepare for long-term needs, where to find help with medical costs, issues facing retirees and more. There will also be a question-and-answer session. This discussion is open to the public.


In the coming weeks, Donatello’s restaurant on Philadelphia Street in Indiana will be launching a “Tasting Menu,” which will consist of small plates ranging from $3 to $5. The menu will be offered during Happy Hour at the bar, from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“This will give patrons an opportunity to try some new appetizers as well as time-honored favorites,” said Sibilla Pirrone, whose family owns the restaurant. What’s on the menu? Arancini (mozzarella cheese and ground beef-stuffed rice balls baked with cheese and sauce), Panzarotti (mini crispy stromboli filled with sausage, ricotta and mozzarella), Pan Seared Scallops over Potato Rounds (with crisp pancetta and pesto drizzle), Crab and Artichoke Dip, and Smoked Salmon over Crabmeat Creme Fraiche Crostini.

The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. every evening except Sundays.


Ankney’s Variety Store on Brady Road near Marion Center is in the midst of special events to mark the business’ official grand opening on Saturday. There will be fabric and Accuquilt merchandise sales, along with free hot dogs and drinks for customers. The store, which caters to the Amish community in the area, opened in August. …

Gas prices in the Indiana area were running at $3.39 a gallon today. … Please read but don’t bet: Indiana 17, Greensburg-Salem 10; Penn State 28, Indiana 27; and IUP 42, Millersville 13. … Willie, our ex-shoeshine boy, says Winston Churchill might have been onto something when he said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Good evening!

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