Downtown Johnstown held its annual organizational meeting recently, reviewing its bylaws, opening up the downtown ice rink and planning to find a new director for the farmers market.

Downtown Johnstown held its annual organizational meeting recently, reviewing its bylaws, opening up the downtown ice rink and planning to find a new director for the farmers market.

Pat Kramer, who has run the market since its inception two years ago, has opened her business, Gifts by Us, which, she said, will prevent her from devoting the time necessary to the farmers market.

"We're looking for a new person to run it," Kramer said. "My personal business would prevent me from doing that, so we're exploring members of Downtown Johnstown to take that over."

Downtown Johnstown president Chris Speck said the group is discussing opening up the farmers market to new vendors by relaxing the existing limit to homemade products.

"We're going to open that up past homemade, homegrown this year," Speck said. "I think we assumed other towns did it this way and that's not the case. Other towns were open to everything. We were kind of exceptional in that regard. And we can still be subjective, if there is something we don't find appropriate for the farmer's market."

Kramer said many more sellers would participate if the limit were relaxed.

"We have people here in town who have viable businesses but we could not let them in because it wasn't homemade," Kramer said. "I think we could double our vendors."

The group also discussed adding other major seasonal events to Downtown Johnstown's regular activities. The Cupola Classic Car Show has worked very well, but members would like to have a similar event several times each year.

"We'd like to have one big event per season," Speck said. "We want to emulate the success of the car show. We don't want so many events that people don't come to any of them because they get desensitized. We want them to be fun."

The group held a working session Friday night to open up the downtown ice rink, but Speck said that was more of an activity than a major event of the sort the group would like to sponsor.

"If the ice rink goes well this year, that would be annual, but we want events more than that would be," Speck said. "There is talk of a garden show in the spring, which I don't think would happen this year, but we could do some fact-finding, look around at some others so that we can put on a good one next year."

Kramer said the key to success is building sufficient awareness that people will begin to naturally plan on attending the events, as they have begun to do with the car show and farmers market.

"The hard problem is to get Johnstown people to do Johnstown things," Kramer said. "We would like to have at least four things a year, so people start to recognize that there are scheduled events so everyone knows it, just like they know about Red, White and Boom."