New Castle News

Community Events

July 8, 2014

Arts, fireworks join forces this weekend for a two-day downtown festival

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County residents look forward to the annual fireworks festival in New Castle, the Fireworks Capital of America.

The designation became a registered trademark in 2006 and its official celebration draws crowds each year.

This weekend, the event will celebrate its 23rd year by moving to a new location and incorporating an arts festival and ethnic village.

Janet Falotico, executive director of the Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency, said the agency is partnering with the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts to present the combined festival, which will be called The New Castle Fireworks Festival featuring Arts on the Riverwalk.

It will take place between the Riverplex and Kennedy Square on East Washington Street in downtown New Castle.

The event’s relocation from the Columbus Inner Belt is intended to integrate the city’s history, architecture and rivers into the festivities, according to Kimberly Koller-Jones, executive director of the Hoyt.

The festival will run from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. It will conclude with fireworks at 10 p.m. Saturday.

Festivalgoers will be able to follow chalk paint splashes on the sidewalks to the Cascade Riverplex complex on Mill Street, which housed the original Warner Brothers Theater.

There they will find an artist’s market, a local arts competition and activities for children.

Art work will be displayed in empty storefronts to further develop the theme.

In addition, an Ethnic Village will feature displays of ethnic crafts and costumes.

Other highlights of the two-day festival include:

•”Rockin’ The River for the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors, a benefit concert featuring performances by Nick Miller and The Groove Diplomats, Nik Killa & Bryan Schwab, Sweaty Betty Blues Band and The All Star Jam from 5:15 to 10:15 p.m. Friday at the Riverwalk on East Washington Street.

•Jameson Health System’s Fourth Annual Run for Your Heart: Fireworks Day 5K/10k at 8 a.m. Saturday at the hospital’s south campus, 1000 S. Mercer St. Those interested may sign up at or visit for a registration form.

•Free movies at the Warner Film Center inside the Riverplex.

•A two-level Lego building contest hosted by the Lawrence County Builders’ Association.

•Children’s amusements including a trackless train, a giant slide and a “bouncy.”

•A variety of food vendors. New to the festival will include BRGR gourmet burgers and milkshakes, Pittsburgh Crepes and flavored kettle corn.

•Buskers — street performers working for tips on the streets — will including a stilt walker, juggler and folk music performers.

•Three bus tours of the historical North Hill on Saturday. The tours will follow the Lawrence County Historical Society’s walking tour list, to give local residents “a little more awareness of the gems we have in our area,” Falotico said, including the third-largest historical district in the state. A small fee will be charged.

•The Joseph A. Clavelli History Center’s new “When Forges Roared” exhibit. An admission will be charged for viewing. The center is located at 408 N. Jefferson St.

•An ice cream social at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clavelli Center. Fireworks can be viewed from the front lawn.

•The American Cancer Society’s Ducky Derby.

•An Anything that Floats competition where participants of all ages build watercraft using their own materials or those provided, then float them on the river.

•A farmer’s market. East Washington Street will be closed Friday from Mill Street east to the Croton Avenue bridge. On Saturday, the street will be closed from the Kennedy Square, east to the Croton bridge plus half a block in each direction on adjacent side streets.

Additional streets also will be temporarily closed during the race.

(Email: grzebieniak

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