Local actors, portraying characters, including a gangster, Dauntless firemen after the 1915 fire that burned down half of Ebensburg, a Civil War veteran reading from his diary and moonshiners around a campfire, will provide a glimpse into the rich history of Cambria County during Spirit Night on Friday and Saturday.

Attendees will take tours that begin at the Cambria County Courthouse and end at the Cambria County Historical Society headquarters with about a dozen stops in between.

This will be the final installment of the society’s fundraiser that has been held – off and on – since 1999.

“We hate to see it come to an end, but all good things do come to an end,” Dave Huber, the event’s co-chairman, said. “Maybe, in the future, some other generation will pick up on it, start it up again. We had a really good run. … It’s always been part of the community.”

Organizers hope the two days will provide a fond farewell to Spirit Night, which has been a much-anticipated event in Ebensburg for two decades.

“It’s always just a great way to bring everybody together,” Alexandria Kaelin, the society’s curator, said. “There are people that have come every year. I’ve had people who have called in and say, ‘We couldn’t miss the last year. We’ve been to it every year.’ And we’ve also gotten people who have never been to it before this year that are just now, for the first time, coming out. It’s a good way to just kind of reach everybody out in the community – people we see all the time and people we don’t see very often.”

Throughout the past two decades, the county’s story has been told by a wide variety of characters, including hippies, hobos, pioneers, nuns, Victorians, 1950s rockers and a mythical family known as the Hoppledinkers. This year, organizers asked the actors to pick their favorite characters to portray for the finale.

“We’ve decided to let the people who were part of it, who did the skits, pick their favorite ones. … It’s really been a lot of fun,” Cecelia Farabaugh, the event’s co-chairwoman, said. “We’ve had some really crazy skits. We’ve done all kind of different things through the years, all kind of different eras.”

Groups of 20 people will leave the courthouse – at 10-minute intervals – both nights, starting at 6 p.m. with the last walking tour leaving at 7:50 p.m.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 814-472-6674 or emailing awbuck@verizon.net.

A $10 donation is requested.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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