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Downtown Indiana Moves Forward in 2018

Downtown Indiana (DI) has entered 2018 focused on growing and strengthening its membership program and diversifying funding streams.

One step toward accomplishing that will be applying to the Department of Community and Economic Development for Main Street designation under the Keystone Communities Program. DI will work on the Main Street application in conjunction with the Borough of Indiana, who will apply for the Elm Street Program. The designations will open new funding opportunities for both DI and the Borough.

Something that is not changing in 2018 is Downtown Indiana’s high-quality events that have become annual traditions. DI will continue to produce four seasons of events and festivals with a local and regional draw.

A date has already been set for next year’s Winter Warm Up – February 23, 2019. S&T Bank has generously committed to the naming sponsorship once again, along with the naming sponsorship for DI’s Oktoberfest, a fall classic.

The First Commonwealth Bank Taste & Tour (July 19) is now in its 17th year making it Downtown Indiana’s longest running fundraiser. Featuring “the best of” downtown foods, First Commonwealth Bank Taste & Tour allows ticket holders to sample foods from more than a dozen restaurants and vote for their favorites. The planning committee is hard at work on ideas for some new twists on this classic event.

Following the success of 2017’s Lumber Heritage theme, this year’s Northern Appalachian Folk Festival (NAFF - Sept. 8) looks to explore the region’s coal mining history and its role in building a nation. In collaboration with the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County (HGSIC), NAFF18 will feature exhibits of artifacts and educational materials—including items visitors may handle, along with speakers, interpreters and storytellers. Additional interactive components are planned to help bring programming alive. At its museum, two blocks from downtown, HGSIC maintains a permanent exhibit related to mining in the county.

DI also looks forward to collaborating with the Coal and Coke Heritage Center at Penn State’s Fayette Campus, Eureka Coal Foundation and Indiana University of Pennsylvania which is home to the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company Collections. Representing over 100 years of local history, R&P’s company papers account for the largest manuscript in the University’s archives. IUP’s work to preserve coal culture also includes the Institute for Mine Mapping, Archival Procedures and Safety (IMAPS) which digitally records, archives, and preserves historic mine maps.

Coal culture touches everyone in this region and NAFF looks forward to making that connection real to visitors. DI and the NAFF committee are pleased to welcome Rosebud Mining Co. and First Commonwealth Bank as sponsors for NAFF18. For more information on partnership opportunities and to keep up with NAFF visit

Plans are also underway for DI’s biggest undertaking --the First Commonwealth Bank It’s a Wonderful Life Festival (Nov. 17 - Dec. 16). Returning for the third year as naming sponsor, First Commonwealth Bank has been integral in the presentation of the of the five-week festival since its inception in 2016.

A goal for this year’s festival is to collaborate more closely with downtown churches, local schools and other organizations on entertainment and activities. The festival traditions of Santa’s House, holiday structures where nonprofits can sell items to raise funds, and of course, the Christmas tree, will continue.

The spirit of Christmas was most definitely present during the 2017 festival when the 42-foot tree, donated by JD Fleming and Fleming’s Tree Farms, was toppled in a wind storm. The tree was reset and continued to be enjoyed by visitors with support from Indiana Regional Medical Center and individual donors. DI is grateful to the many sponsors, volunteers and in-kind donors who made the festival possible. Full list of festival supporters and thank yous.

DI is looking forward to a banner year in 2018 and invites local businesses, nonprofits and individuals to be a part of its success by becoming members. Various levels of memberships are available, and all come with exclusive benefits. We also have a complete package of sponsorships for our events throughout the year.

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