Blog Category: events

Get to Know: The Downingtown Christmas Parade

Dianne Plaugher is Co-Chair of the Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Inc., along with her husband Steve Plaugher. Each year, the tree lighting and parade brings our community together along Lancaster Avenue, while families and neighbors cheer on the floats. A group of 12 volunteers coordinates the event throughout the year and addition help is brought in for coordinating the dozens of floats and community groups that paritipate in the parade. We asked Diane a few questions about the tradition, here’s what she had to say:

Explain what your non-profit does in the community:

Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Inc. provides a Christmas Tree and Tree Lighting Ceremony for the community followed by a wonderful Christmas Parade.

How many years has the Downingtown Christmas Parade been happening?

Steve and I have been involved since at least 2002.

Explain how far in advance you begin planning the event:

We meet once a month the entire year. More meetings are added as we get close to the event date.

What types of traditions can someone expect to see during the parade?

Plenty of bands, community groups and Santa and Mrs. Claus.

What’s the best part about volunteering for the Downingtown Christmas Parade?

Knowing that you are helping to put on a quality Christmas Parade for the community to enjoy.

What’s your favorite memory of the parade?

Each year is different - the best part of each year is riding behind Santa’s float, being able to see the amount of happy faces that line the streets of Downingtown enjoying the parade.

Where can you find the best pizza in the borough?

Anthony’s Cucina Fresca

How can people get involved?

We need volunteers! Contact Diane at dtownchristmas@aol.com for details. 

They’re also holding a “Nite at the Races“ fundraiser on Saturday, May 20 at St. Anthony’s Lodge - get the details, here

Downingtown Summer Jam Series | July 31

Our first Summer Jam was a huge hit, bringing in hundreds of families, friends and neighbors to Downingtown on a beautiful summer evening. Part 2 of the series will feature local musicians on 2 stages, food and unique crafts right in the heart of Downingtown! Sponsored by Kimberton Whole FoodsSynergema and School of Rock, this community event is the perfect start to a summer weekend.  Along Mill Alley check out craft vendors, as well as a variety of tasty options including The Happy PitaMargo’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe, BBQ from M-n-M Catering and iced coffee from Kimberton Whole Foods.

Downingtown’s very own School of Rock will be playing sets of some of your favorite vintage covers throughout the event on Stage 1 at the Armor Alley Pocket Plaza, from 5-9PM. Don’t miss the great line-up of local musicians for Stage 2, featuring the artists listed below.

5PM: Chris Macy

Chris Macy is a local singer-songwriter and pianist with some serious talent on the keys and bold vocals to back it up. You can find him playing at bars, restaurants and open mics throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area. About his journey with music Chris recalls, “I can’t remember far back enough to think of when there wasn’t a piano nearby, growing up in Pottstown. Other than fishing and baseball, I only ever wanted to mash keys. Once when I was a kid I told my mom I’d be a Doctor if she got me a motorcycle, but that didn’t work out, so here I am.”

6PM: Tom Wagner

Tom Wagner is a singer-songwriter who lives in Downingtown. He has been inspired by Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel. He loves to perform at various open mics in the area including Steel City Coffeehouse, Wellington Square Bookstore, Higher Gound Cafe, Shadyside Tavern, Jus Java and the Social Lounge. He was so regular at Molly Maguires in Downingtown that he never missed the open mic there and was given the unofficial title of “iron man” by the host Dan. You can check out some of his performances on his Youtube channel tomwagnermusic.

7PM: Common Threads 

Common Threads is a local Downingtown family band. Ed Watson and Ted Sellers have been playing guitar together for over 20 years, during which time the band has grown to include Ed’s son Niko on bass along with his wife Deborah on harmonica and sister Elaine on vocals and percussion. The band plays acoustic folk rock including The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Jim Croce, CSN and many others. As a family band they always have fun making music and are excited about the chance to play for their home town.

8PM: Midnight Mayhem

Midnight Mayhem is a dynamic four piece band from right in Downingtown, PA. Formed in 2012, the band has seen numerous personnel changes, but has always retained it’s core of vocalist Jerami “Ember” Forget and guitarist Sean Loughead. Specializing in hard hitting classic and modern rock the band has an ever changing set list that is always full of high energy hits as well as some surprise deep tracks. Flanking the intense vocals and furious guitar work is thunderous rhythm section of drummer James Chukinas and bassist Jimmy Mattei. Be ready to hear some of your favorite songs like you’ve never heard them before.

Make sure to keep up with events and happenings in town by following Downingtown Main Street’s Facebook page. See you at the Summer Jam! 

Two days of fine arts, foods, music, and beverages in the heart of Downingtown

On May 30th and 31st, Downingtown will be ground zero for 49 of the finest artists in the country, with the unveiling of the first annual Downingtown Fine Arts Festival. For artist and one of the founders of the Chester County Studio Tour, David Oleski, the decision for Downingtown to host the Art Festival was an easy one. “In winter of 2014, Adrian Martinez cornered me to ask what I would suggest to bring the arts to Downingtown. While another artist might consider buildings and spaces and galleries, my experience was in events. My suggestion was a big public event, and with Adrian’s enthusiastic and unstoppable spirit, I couldn’t help but to get caught up in putting together the Downingtown Fine Arts Festival.”

The event is sponsored by  Victory Brewing CompanyGreen Street GrillMain Line Concrete, and Barra Rossa, and 

will host some of Chester County’s finest eateries along the Main Street corridor. Over a two-day period, the artists’ tents and the Victory Brewing Company Brewery on Wheels will be located at the parking lot adjacent to the old Minquas Fire Station. Opening day, Saturday, May 30th, visitors can access the festival and beer garden, and on Sunday, May 31st, the Downingtown Main Street Association will host the addition of food vendors and live music along Lancaster Avenue between Brandywine Avenue and Green Street. Downingtown Main Street Manager, Steve Plaugher has organized the annual Downingtown Fall Fest activities for several years, and recognizes the potential for a Spring-related event to kick off the warm weather, “We heard loud and clear from people that attend Fall Fest, which gets between 5000-7000 people to attend. They think this is great, and we want more of these events in the borough.”

The interest in bringing the arts to Downingtown stems from the inspiration of Adrian Martinez, who is a resident-artist, and President of the Downingtown Main Street Association. Over a broccoli rabe pork belly sandwich and a pint at Victory Brewing Company, Martinez asked Oleski, “Can you bring some of the best artist you know here for a weekend art fair to help us celebrate Downingtown?” Oleski thought a long moment over his sautéed scallops with jalapeno aioli sauce and said, “Sure!”Although the passion of art is clear between two artists, the borough of Downingtown is seeing a resurgence of artistic expression, with creative businesses such as Home Eclective, restaurant galleries in The Station Taproom, Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center art displays in Main Street store windows, and especially the new Public Library, which hosts its own brand-new mural painting by Martinez, which was unveiled in April.

While the beer garden is not a normal accoutrement to his shows, Oleski sees a unique endeavor in Downingtown, “The presence of Victory Brewing Company will add a flair of style and celebration, as Victory is well-known as a combination of excellent beer with an artful and stylish marketing program. For me, this will be my first major local event that brings many of the artists I know from the national circuit right here to my own town. I’ll be proud to show off the charm and beauty of Downingtown and Chester county, and I’m especially thrilled to have everyone meet Adrian and some of the other great friends I’vemade on this journey to make this show happen.”

DMSA President Adrian Martinez is a muralist for the G.W. Bush familyDave Oleski is bringing a world-class art tour to DowningtownBe sure to follow the Downingtown Main Street Association Facebook page and www.downingtownmainstreet.com for up to date postings for the Art Festival, and check out http://www.downingtownfinearts.com for more information on the artists and the event details.