Light-Up Night Launches It’s A Wonderful Life Festival | local news

Young and old filled IRMC Park as the Lucy Donnelly Memorial Fund presented Indiana Borough’s Light-Up Night, and then lined up along Philadelphia Street for the borough’s annual holiday parade.

These events kicked off the holiday season in downtown Indiana, during which the First Commonwealth Bank is hosting the It’s A Wonderful Life Festival, this weekend and every weekend from now through December 18th.

Hundreds braved a bitterly cold night as the thermometer read 26 degrees at the Robinson-Lytle-Shoemaker Funeral Home in the moments before the tree was first lit at IRMC Park.

The 30-foot-tall live tree was donated by Gregg Van Horn, President of the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association.

Visitors could get complimentary hot chocolate served by The Salvation Army at the Ninth Street Deli and on the third floor of the Sanctuary on the Harvest Church Indiana campus.

Hot chocolate was served by the church along with complimentary cookies, brownies, and popcorn. The church also offered free use of its washrooms, and downstairs some members served free hot dogs.

The Indiana Alliance Church also had a booth along Philadelphia Street offering candy canes and a free raffle.

The night was not without controversy, which in turn surfaced in the form of a rumor on social media that county authorities debunked on Friday afternoon.

In the hours leading up to the start of Light-Up Night, the Indiana County Police Department said it was aware of a social media post that had reached some Indiana students and residents warning of a communicated threat to Friday night’s celebrations.

“This content has been researched and we are confident that the origin of this post was not from Indiana, PA and was not related to Indiana Boroughs Wonderful Life Parade and/or Tree Lighting,” advised IBPD.

Still, the county police said, “While the social media post was not indicative of events in the Indiana County, all gatherings have common and pervasive safety concerns and we always ask everyone to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.”

The notice was posted on the Borough of Indiana and Indiana Borough Police Department Facebook pages.

Highlights for the upcoming weekends include visits to Santa Clause on Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm and Sundays from 12pm to 3pm and free parking along Philadelphia Street from Fifth to Ninth Streets on the weekends through December 18, courtesy of the Festival sponsors First Commonwealth Bank.

Vacant paid seats are marked with a red band.