The idea of celebrating and building community spirit in Richland Township five years ago has blossomed into a proven winner.
Richland Community Days will be held from 4 p.m. to midnight Aug. 17 and 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 18 with most of the activities located at Schoolhouse Road and Theatre Drive.
The celebration will feature the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, crafts, food, music, a car cruise, a parade, fireworks and children’s activities.
Jim Miliauskas of East Hills Recreation, who is co-chairman of the event, along with Shirley Stuby of Somerset Trust Co., the lead sponsor, agreed that the event has become a celebration that people anticipate each summer.
“I think it has become an event that people are marking on their calendars to keep the weekend free in order to attend,” Miliauskas said.
Stuby said more class reunions are finding the celebration as a good way to attract people while they’re returning home for community days.
“We want to continue to offer families the opportunity to come together as a community at little or no cost,” Stuby said.
“Our event is about uniting families and providing them an opportunity to celebrate and be proud of the community that we work and live in.”
Schoolhouse Road will be closed from Theatre Drive to the Pitt-Johnstown entrance during the festivities.
The event includes free admission, parking and children’s activities. Proceeds benefit East Hills Recreation.
Music will be presented on two stages throughout the weekend.
On Aug. 17, the musical lineup will feature performances by Johnstown Civic Band at 5:30 p.m.; Ribbon Grass Acoustic, 6; Denise Baldwin, 6:30; The Conniptions, 9; and Hard Rock, Coco & Joe, 9:30.
On Aug. 18, the groups are Berlin Fife & Drum Corps and Jerry Intihar Band at noon; Spiff Jeffy & The Freeze Line, 2 p.m.; Jazz in Your Face, 3:30; Saddle Up, 6; Tree, 6:30; Flood City Brass and Who’s Your Daddy, 10.
The parade steps off at 11 a.m. Aug. 18 on Theatre Drive behind Richland Town Centre and proceeds to the red light at Richland Senior High School.
Before the procession begins, retired Richland Township police Chief Richard Barlett and incoming Chief Michael S. Burgan will take part in a ceremonial badge exchange.
No celebration would be complete without food.
Patty Tessari of Mine 40, owner of Layton Concessions, is food chairwoman.
“People know me as Crabby Patty, and I will bring my crab cakes and hot sausage sandwiches,” she said.
She has arranged for other vendors to provide such items as cheese steak, pulled pork, ham barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries.
There also will be chicken tenders, tacos, pierogi, nachos and cheese, pizza, stromboli, fried Oreos and funnel cakes.
The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team will captivate the audience with its complex presentation at noon Aug. 18.
“It’s only fitting that we have a military presence at the celebration because it’s a wonderful way to show appreciation for those most responsible for preserving our freedom,” Miliauskas said.
The honor guard performs at ceremonial dedications to America’s fallen troops and for military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.
Organizers also are excited about the fireworks display on Aug. 18.
A quilt show will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 17 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Richland Township Municipal Building, 322 Schoolhouse Road.
Chances, which will be available during quilt show hours, are $1 each or six for $5.
Proceeds from the quilt raffle and 20 percent of quilt sales will benefit East Hills Recreation.
Free children’s activities will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 18 and will feature inflatable rides, a kids’ workshop, Classic Clown Club, karate and gymnastics show, hole-in-one contest, kid’s coloring contest and much more.
Vince Strugala, children’s activities chairman, said it is rewarding to see the Richland community support an effort to give children a carefree experience.
“It’s great to see families come together and have fun without the parents worrying about reaching into their pockets for money,” Strugala said.
While there are events for all ages both days, no pets will be allowed on the grounds.
Parking will be available at fields adjacent to the celebration as well as at the township municipal building and elementary school.
What: Fifth annual Richland Community Days.
Where: Schoolhouse Road and Theatre Drive in Richland Township.
When: 4 p.m. to midnight Aug. 17 and 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 18.