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Weather hinders festival fundraising effort

October 7, 2012
By JOHN BORGOLINI , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Diane Vallieo and her daughter Betty were at the Johnstown Fall Festival as vendors for the third time on Saturday, but the event was also a first for them.

It was their first time back at the festival without Carl Vallieo - Diane's longtime craft show partner, her husband, and Betty's father. Carl succumbed to pancreatic cancer on June 19.

Diane and Betty have been discouraged by their loss, and Saturday's weather didn't offer much sunshine to lift their spirits.

Article Photos

Chris Simonds takes a photo of his children Tyler, 8, and Catie, 9, while they sing karaoke Saturday at the Charles Jenner Band Shell during the Johnstown Fall Festival. Vendors and organizers are frustrated because the event has been affected by bad weather two years in a row.

Last year's festival turnout was hurt by rain, too, but the two vendors say they don't plan on giving up their craft work or attending shows because of a little bleak weather.

"My crafts keep me going," Diane said. "My husband died in June, and this was something he and I did together. It gives me something to keep me busy."

The festival is an effort to raise money for the city's November holiday parade. Cold weather and morning rain kept many people away from the event, though a few did take part in the activities, such as karaoke at the Charles Jenner Band Shell.

The vendors and parade organizer Karen Coppola were discouraged by the festival being affected by weather for the second straight year, but they were hopeful that more people would come out today, as more vendors are expected when the festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Unfortunately for those who plan to attend, today's forecast doesn't promise sunshine.

"The bottom line is we're getting discouraged," Coppola said. "I have been working so hard, and my summer went by so quick. And we're getting nowhere fast. People don't realize this stuff costs money."

Meco native Debbie Hill, who does two to three craft shows a month and has been participating in craft shows for 20 years, also returned to the festival as a vendor and agreed it was a slow day because of the weather. She said in general, craft shows in the area have been drawing fewer people over the years.

"They're not as good as they were 10 years ago," Hill said. "I wish they were back to the way they were years ago, because we made three, four or five thousand dollars ... They're always a gamble."

John Borgolini can be reached at



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