This article is brought to you by our friends at Beaver County Auto.
The flowers are in full bloom across the county, and in Ambridge, so is the energy of community leaders, business owners, historic preservationists, artists, and longtime residents, who are working together to showcase everything Ambridge has to offer.
Planning a Spring Fest celebration in conjunction with Beaver County’s History Weekend was the brainchild of Ambridge Historic District Economic Development Corporation Co-Chairs Connie Kovolenko and Roberta Sciulli, who were looking for a way to celebrate the treasures and community spirit in Ambridge, and raise awareness about the benefits of living and working in the vibrant, affordable Historic District.
“There is definitely something for everyone!” Kovolenko, who owns Akulina’s Antiques (a former Harmonist home she restored with her husband), said of Spring Fest. Looking at the lineup of events, you can see that’s true. All activities, aside from admission to Old Economy Village and a glass mosaic-making workshop, are free and open to the public. Here’s some of what’s planned:
Both Days (Saturday, 11am to 5pm; Sunday, 12pm to 5pm):
Hands-On History Days at Old Economy Village will bring history to life, offering visitors the chance to try a variety of 19th century crafts, trades and games. Textile-making demonstrations will be held at the newly-opened Warehouse building on the grounds. Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday: 12pm-5pm. Cost is included in purchase of regular admission tickets. Free to members and Ambridge pass holders! As a preview, check out these incredible images preserved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The Grand Re-Opening of RiverTown Antiques, whose new home (they moved from Rochester) is in the former Economy Lanes building at 1307 Merchant Street. Local artist Hilary Shames (who did the beautiful poster art for the event) will be holding a fine art exhibition. Free guided walking tours of the Historic District will depart from RiverTown at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Raffles! RiverTown is also the place to pick up raffle tickets for a chance to win a Historic District basket of treasures from local antique shops, or your chance to win a free, one-night stay at the Heslet House Bed & Breakfast or the Old Economy Inn & Cafe!
FOOD TRUCKS! At 14th and Merchant Street, treat yourself to a gourmet grilled cheese from Cheese 2 Meat You or the always-delicious Papa Duke’s Gyros.
A Glass Mosaic-Making Workshop at the new MLPM Studio Gallery, led by renowned artist and educator Mara Linaberger. Admission to the gallery, where you’ll find many beautiful, hand-made works of art is free, but you must register and pay for the workshop (12pm to 2pm). Details on that here.
Pop-Up Portraits for Mother’s Day by yours truly, aka Rustbelt Mayberry Photography, at 1303 Merchant Street — one of the great commercial spaces in the Historic District that’s currently available. Bring your Mom (or your kids!) and let me capture some family magic! Digital copies of 3 shots (to print on your own or use online) for $10 with option to order magnets, prints or other photo keepsakes. I’ll also have other art on display for your browsing and buying pleasure!
LIVE MUSIC! Under the Awning at Tobin Studios, by local musicians James and Debra Tobin, and Holly Mathias. The multi-talented Tobins will also feature their fine art works, and those of their students, in a exhibit at their studio at 1234 Merchant Street.
A Chance to Meet the Minds behind Iron Horse Theatre Company, a 501c3 non-profit working to bring provoking and entertaining theater to enrich the cultural life in our “rust belt” corner of southwestern Pennsylvania. Led by its founder (a lifelong student and performer of the arts, who leads the Moon area drama program) London Cain, the Iron Horse volunteer team is hard at work transforming 348 Maplewood Avenue into a 68-seat venue that will offer “theatrical experiences that celebrate the grit, determination, and strength of the human character.” The second floor of the space will serve as a center for the arts and provide the community with low-cost or free lessons in art, photography, music, dance, voice, acting, and even yoga. Learn all about their plans and how you can help by stopping into 1303 Merchant Street.
Plus: Bake sales, a public art station with an interactive art project, conversations with small business experts from local banks on investing and entrepreneurial opportunities, pop-up retailers offering home furnishings, paintings, photography, and clothing, and a model railroad exhibit!
The 6th annual Garden Mart at Old Economy Village, from 9am to 2pm is the place to be if you’re looking to get your home garden off on the right foot (root?). Admission is free!
Family fun at the Laughlin Memorial Library, featuring indoor and outdoor activities for kids and a spring sidewalk sale. 9am to 4pm
LuLaRoe Pop-Up Boutique by Kendall Coleman at 1194 Merchant Street.
WildTree Organics: Product and Cooking Demonstration with Patty Matzie at Tobin Studios at 1234 Merchant St.
In addition to offering a fun, family-friendly event, Spring Fest is also intended to attract artists, entrepreneurs, and retail-dreamers to see some of the great storefronts and commercial properties in the district that are available for long-term businesses, pop-ups, arts, music, and cultural events. So, what are you waiting for?? A map, perhaps? Got ya covered there too:
Come and see all that the Ambridge Historic District has to offer! And be sure to support all the great events happening as part of Beaver County History Weekend.