New Year’s Eve fireworks planned

JOHNSTOWN – Local residents won’t have to venture far on New Year’s Eve for a celebration with fireworks.

The Johnstown Area Community Center will present a Dec. 31 downtown fireworks display at the Sir William Johnson Park on Main Street just a few hours before the ball drops at midnight.

JACC Board President Matt Therrien said the fireworks display will be launched from the park on West Main Street at 9 p.m.

“We chose 9 because we figured midnight wouldn’t be the best with families, and it’s tough to keep the kids up, but this way, people can come see what’s going on and finish the rest of their New Year’s Eve together,” Therrien said.

This will be the second consecutive year for the New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Therrien said the JACC paid approximately $1,800 to have the Alonzo Fireworks Co. put on about a 20-minute display last year. This year, the group spent $2,500 for what is expected to be about a 30-minute display.

“We just wanted to give back to the community,” Therrien said. “We wanted people to get the biggest bang for their buck.”

He said the community center started the fireworks event on Main Street last year and followed it with a fireworks display at Knox Field later in the year. He said considering the large amount of community support and appreciation, the center wants to make both events yearly traditions.

Therrien said the New Year’s Eve celebration is primarily funded by the money raised from donations and the rent people pay to use the center for events. He said the Knox fireworks, set for June, are also paid for by donations, but the majority comes from larger local businesses.

For the New Year’s Eve fireworks, Therrien said, people will be required to stand on the opposite side of Main Street to view the display. The area will be fenced off.

Therrien said the area between Market and William streets will be closed off temporarily for the firework display.

The Fire Department has agreed to have a truck at the site for safety, Therrien said.

Mayor Sarah Slingerland said last year was the first fireworks display in the city since the city’s 250th celebration in 2008.

Painting event

Before the fireworks Dec. 31, the Johnstown Historical Society will unveil the painting “Johns-Town, Winter 1773” by artist Ruth DeWilde-Major, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fulton County Court House.

The painting was purchased by the historical society earlier this year from the artist from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

City Historian Noel Levee said the oil painting has an estimated value of $1,000 and the historical society was interested in the work because of the ties it has to the community.

According to a news release, Ruth and her daughter Paris had been in Johnstown researching their New York ancestors, including Robert Adems, Sir William Johnson’s first store merchant and bookkeeper. Adems’ store and home were next to the courthouse on William Street. Robert Adems’ daughter Mary married John Van Voast, whose descendants still remain in Johnstown.

The painting depicts a winter scene on William Street.

The painting is also depicted on the cover of the society’s 2014 calendar, which will be on sale at the courthouse.

The painting will go on tour throughout Johnstown for the next six months, starting with First Niagara Bank Jan. 10 through 31, NBT Bank Feb. 10 through 28, and Patriot Federal Bank March 10 through 28. Other locations may include the Johnstown Library, Key Bank and the Holiday Inn, the news release said.

There will be a wine-and-cheese reception after the Dec. 31 unveiling. The event is free to the public, but donations are appreciated, the news release said.

More fireworks

Therrien said another fireworks celebration is scheduled at Knox Field around 9 p.m. June 28. He said the rain date will be June 29.

The event last year had cost about $6,500. This year, he said, the community center wants to put on a $10,000 display.

He said the Knox show will start with entertainment provided by the Lexington Center band Flame.

Levi Pascher can be reached at