Scott Blasey

Scott Blasey is the lead singer of The Clarks.

Back by popular demand, the Pittsburgh band The Clarks will be the headliner at this year’s Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Inc. After getting their start at IUP, they have been voted as one of the best rock bands in the Pittsburgh region. They will take the main stage on Sept. 7 on the 500 block of Philadelphia Street from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

In addition, the Pittsburgh band Brownie Mary will perform a reunion concert Sept. 6 from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

In all, the festival will include over 10 bands, including Indiana favorites Coastal Remedy, who will open the festival on Friday at 5:45 p.m.

The festival is set to offer educational workshops, a children’s alley, food, and arts and crafts vendors, beer vendors and the third annual story-telling/liars contest.

Prior to the Friday night festivities, a 99-minute documentary that provides an overview of the closing of the Robertshaw Controls factory in 1981 will be presented. At the time of the closing Robertshaw was the 99th-largest corporation in the United States. The closing affected over 1,200 workers. The film will be shown at The Indiana Players theater in the 700 block of Philadelphia Street at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.


This year’s workshop lineup boasts a wide variety of topics. Josh Krug of the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development will discuss the multimodal corridor/Hoodlebug trail extension that will extend into Indiana Borough.

He will discuss the bike/pedestrian bridge that will extend over Route 22 near Blairsville.

Karin Eller of Plant-it-Earth Greenhouse will give tips on growing garlic and the many problems to avoid. An update on the proposed injection well in Grant Township will be presented by representatives from the local group called the Hellbenders. And Cindy Rogers will talk about the various uses of geocaching.  All workshops will be held at Spaghetti Bender’s Restaurant on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.


This will be the third year of NAFF Inc.’s storytelling/liars contest. Each contestant will be given three minutes to present a story or lie that will be evaluated by a panel of storytelling experts who will score them in the following categories: technique delivery, confidence, general stagecraft, story development, good development of the time available, originality, new material and effectiveness. The judges will also include audience response into the evaluation process. The winner will be awarded $100, $75 for second and $50 for third. The event will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Coney Island restaurant.


Sept. 7, noon-5 p.m., Fifth and Philadelphia streets in Indiana

Join Evergreen After School Club and the Children’s Advisory Commission’s Safe Children’s Network for an afternoon fun and games in the Children’s Alley NAFF Inc. Free activities for kids ages 2-12. Parents must remain with their children.

Activities include:

• Bicycle safety course (bring your own bikes and helmets, or borrow the ones at the course.) Tricycle riding for the younger participants.

• Face painting

• Juggling demonstration

• Appalachian animal crafts

• Four tents of carnival games

• Prizes and giveaways

The Northern Appalachian Folk Festival’s title sponsors are Jim Dougherty, Delaney Chevrolet and Honda, American Legion Post 141 and Iron City Beer. If you are interested in being a sponsor or for more information on the festival, visit, call (724) 840-3002 or email

Inductees announced for NAFF walk of fame

Founded in 2016, the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Inc. also has a Walk of Fame that recognizes the contributions made by residents of the northern Appalachian region including, but not limited to, the fields of education, the environment, human rights, the arts and sports.

Nominees are inducted at an annual ceremony that takes place during each NAFF Inc. festival. The 2019 class of inductees are Nellie Bly, John Brophy, the Hellbenders, Jim Rogers and the IUP women’s basketball team.

• Education: Nellie Bly 

Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (May 5, 1864-Jan. 27, 1922), better known by her pen name Nellie Bly, was an American journalist who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg and an expos← in which she worked undercover to report on a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. Bly was also an inventor and industrialist. Early in life she lived in Pittsburgh and briefly attended the Indiana Normal School (now IUP).

• Human rights: John Brophy 

Born in Lancashire, England, to a family of miners, Brophy’s family emigrated to the United States when he was 9 and found work in the central Pennsylvania coal mines. Brophy began working in the mines at age 11; by the age of 14, he had joined the UMWA. He rose within the union to become president of District 2 of the UMWA. Brophy ran against John L. Lewis for president of the UMWA in 1926, calling for nationalization of the coal industry, a 30-hour workweek at the same pay as a 40-hour week, and the establishment of a third national progressive political party. He lost the union election to Lewis, but most historians feel it was rigged and that Brophy probably would have won if the vote had been held democratically. Lewis controlled the counting of the ballots. Brophy advocated for the human rights of the miners, their families and communities.

• Environment: Stacy Long of the Grant Township Hellbenders group

“Hellbender” is the name of a large salamander that is indigenous to northern Appalachian. In the spring, it was classified as the official state salamander by the state Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf. It is very sensitive to environmental change and water pollution. In a sense they are a “canary in the coal mine.” Canaries are sensitive to methane gas. Before there were mechanical gas detectors mine workers would carry the bird in cages into the mines with them. If the canary died the miners knew they could die as well. Similarly, if the hellbender dies due to water pollution humans could experience the same fate.

In 2012 residents of Grant Township in northeastern Indiana County were informed that a Marcellus shale company from Erie wanted to create an injection well where they would literally shoot the wastewater from Marcellus shale gas wells into the ground near their homes. Since all the residents of the township use well water, this became a major concern and created fear that the wastewater could leach in the ground and eventually pollute their water. In response they created a group that would try to stop this threat and took on the hellbender name as a symbol representing their cause. Currently the issue is unresolved.

• Arts: Jim Rogers 

He was employed by the Communications Media Department of IUP as a faculty adviser for WIUP-FM and taught classes in radio and photography. Volunteering at WIUP-FM for over 30 years, he primarily aired Saturday and Sunday morning radio programs which highlighted singer-song writers, folk music and bluegrass. 

As special programs director/community volunteer coordinator, he was producer/host of WIUP-FM’s Modern Troubadours (29 years), FolkTime! (34 years) and The Bluegrass Ramble (nine years). He was also director of FolkTime! Productions, Indiana.

• Sports: IUP women’s basketball 

IUP women’s basketball followed up its successful 2017-18 season with another historic year. The Crimson Hawks won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division regular season title, the PSAC tournament championship and another Atlantic Region crown to advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.

The Crimson Hawks opened the season with a 15-game win streak as they vaulted to the No. 1 team in the WBCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. It was the best ranking in program history. IUP spent 15 of the 18 national poll releases inside the top 5, the most of any team in Division II, and finished the year at No. 4.

They tied the program mark for wins in a season with a 30-4 record, including 18-3 in conference play.

They went 7-1 in the postseason, blowing through the conference tournament with three wins by an average of 19 points per game. IUP then won three tightly contested games in the regional tournament, including victories over No. 9 Virginia Union and No. 22 California, before defeating No. 24 Azusa Pacific in the national quarterfinals.

IUP head coach Tom McConnell was named PSAC West coach of the year, with seniors Carolyn Appleby, Lauren Wolosik and Brittany Robinson each earned all-league honors. Appleby also earned All-Atlantic Region and All-American accolades.