The history of the past echoes through this annual festival.
“Echoes of the Past,” the 55th annual Fort Ligonier Days, will be held Friday through Oct. 12 in downtown Ligonier.
The three-day event – which commemorates a military victory by the British and their colonial allies at Fort Ligonier on Oct. 12, 1758 – will feature a parade, a 5K race, more than 180 craft booths at four locations, 30 food booths around the Ligonier Diamond, free entertainment throughout the festival and a Saturday night fireworks display.
“The Fort Ligonier Days celebration is unique because we have the history, the affiliation with Fort Ligonier,” said Holly Mowrey, co-chairwoman of the festival and director of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It dates back to 1758, when the region’s future was still in doubt, with the outcome to be decided by the British and colonial troops gathering above Loyalhanna Creek in Ligonier.”
Doo-wop legends Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners will be the featured entertainment for a street dance from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Pittsburgh-based group, which topped the charts from the late 1950s into the 1960s, was well known for its tight harmonies.
“The Forces of Fort Ligonier,” French and Indian War re-enactors encamped at the fort for the weekend, will parade around the Diamond following the street dance, which will be topped off by a fireworks display.
The entertainment lineup for the weekend also includes a guitar duo, Silver Sky; the Flood City Jazz Band; and “Ole ’97,” a Johnny Cash tribute band.
The University of Pittsburgh Marching Band will be returning to take part in the parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Now in its 103rd year, the Pitt band is known as one of the most prestigious collegiate band programs in the country.
The parade will feature plenty of other bands and a large number of floats, antique autos and historical units.
Gage Goulding, a junior at Ligonier Valley High School, will announce the parade from in front of Mack M. Darr Co. Inc., 320 W. Main St., and provide entertainment throughout the festival.
Historical re-enactments will take place at Fort Ligonier, the focal point of the annual festival.
Re-enactor Bruce Egli will portray Col. Henry Bouquet, who led the successful defense of Fort Ligonier against the French and Indian attackers in October 1758.
Egli will be at the fort Friday for gallery talks and to interact with visitors and will appear at the opening ceremony at noon Friday on the Diamond.
The popular battle re-enactments involving authentically dressed French, Indian, British and colonial re-enactors are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, preceded by artillery demonstrations one-half hour before each battle.
The 5K run will begin at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12 at Ligonier Valley High School, followed by the 5K walk two minutes later.
The hilly and challenging 5K course is located north of town, along Springer Road, Peoples Road and Carey School Road.
Prior to the 5K, the Kids’ Fun Mile Run for children age 12 and younger will begin at 8 a.m. at the high school.
Organizers will present awards for each age division, and there will be trophies for the top three male and female runners overall and for the top male and female walkers.
T-shirts, information packets and registration will be available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at Ligonier Valley High School, 40 Springer Road.
Registration is $10 for the kids’ run and $30 for the 5K and also will be available online at www.fortligonierdays.com.
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