PA - Indiana Co. - Indiana - skyline

This May, live jazz will resound throughout Indiana, Pennsylvania, as the small town hosts a Jazz & Blues Festival.

The small western Pennsylvania town of Indiana will soon give off a distinctly New Orleans vibe.

The Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival, which typically draws acclaimed musicians from near and far, will take place May 26 and 27 in downtown Indiana, located about 220 miles from the Baltimore-Washington area.

“It’s a free community event,” said Laura Herrington, executive director of the Indiana County Tourist Bureau. “It happens at a good time of the year. People have a long weekend and an opportunity to be outside and downtown in a festive environment and enjoy live music.”

Indiana native Joe Saylor, drummer for Stay Human, Stephen Colbert’s house band, is the jazz headliner. He’ll perform at a ticketed event on Friday and then put on a free show Saturday.

“We’ll also have Toronzo Cannon, a blues guitarist from Chicago,” said David Ferguson, chair of the festival steering committee, “along with the Norside Organ Trio, Soulful Femme, and Blues Attack—they’re all from Pittsburgh—and the Jazz in Your Face big band from Johnstown.”

Saylor will provide a local touch along with fellow Indiana native Philip Kuenn.

“He’s like the go-to bassist for a lot of folks,” Ferguson said. “He played with Stay Human, and for the longest time, whenever Tony Bennett would go on tour, he was his bass player.”

Other Events in Indiana County

Several other Indiana County events are scheduled during the month, including the 47th Annual May Mart Garden & Vendor Expo on May 19 and 20. Besides plants and shrubs, the expo this year features Emmy Award winner Doug Oster, who will speak at a ticketed event on Saturday.

PA - Indiana Co. - Indiana - May Mart Garden and Vendor Expo

The annual May Mart Garden & Vendor Expo brings beautiful blooms to Indiana.

“He’s commonly known as the Garden Guru of Pittsburgh,” said Jan Beris, co-president of the Indiana Garden Club, which sponsors May Mart. “He’s a fabulous speaker. He’s funny, and we learn a lot from him.”

May 20 is a special day in Indiana for another reason: It’s the birthday of a beloved native son. The Jimmy Stewart Museum will honor the famed film star and military hero by showing Harvey in the museum theater and offering patrons free Harvey cookies.

“We also have a special exhibit on Jimmy’s sister, Mary, who was an artist, so we’re highlighting some of her work,” said Janie McKirgan, the museum’s executive director. “We have paintings, cartoons, and some of her World War II posters that attacked Nazism and Hitler. She won an award for one of them.”

Visitors can pick up a map and take a self-guided tour of Jimmy Stewart sites in town, including his childhood home and the building where he attended school.

PA - Indiana Co. - Indiana - Jimmy Stewart Museum exhibit

The Jimmy Stewart Museum celebrates the life and legacy of the Hollywood icon and World War II hero.

On May 23—the 143rd day of the year—143 Day will be observed at Buttermilk Falls on property once owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather of children’s television star Mr. Rogers.

Fred Rogers used 143 as his special code for “I Love You,” based on the number of letters in each word. It’s celebrated as a day of kindness in Pennsylvania. Local landscape architect Barbara Hauge will lead walks at the falls that evening.

“That location has just boomed with attention and visitors,” Herrington said. “It’s just a special place. People even get married there. There’s a picnic pavilion and a nice trail where you can walk down to the falls. It’s a really lovely spot.”

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