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Fort Ligonier Twelfth Night Celebration is one last holiday hurrah

Shirley McMarlin
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Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Wayward Companions will provide 18th-century music for the second annual Twelfth Night celebration on Jan. 5 at Fort Ligonier. Here the group performs at the inaugural event on Jan. 6, 2018.
530261gtrtktwelfthnightdance122718
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Dancers in period costume, including Rick and Theresa Schwab (center), are seen at the 2018 Twelfth Night celebration.

By New Year’s Day, most folks feel a little partied out. But then the prospect of a long, cold, cheerless January sets in.

Fort Ligonier has a remedy for those post-holiday blues, with one last revel.

The second annual Twelfth Night Celebration is set for 7-9:30 p.m. Jan. 5 at the historical complex at 200 S. Market St., Ligonier.

“The Twelfth Night Celebration at Fort Ligonier is a fun and festive event to learn about 18th-century history and traditions through food, drink, music, and dancing,” said Erica Nuckles, Fort Ligonier director of history and collections, in a release. “This was the most celebrated night of the holiday season during colonial times and I am excited to share the merriment with all of our Fort friends – both old and new.”

“We’re expanding the event by a half-hour this year, from 9 to 9:30, because (last year’s guests) had so much fun that they wanted to stay a little longer,” says Julie Donovan, director of marketing and public relations.

Familiar faces

Returning attendees will find familiar faces among the scheduled entertainers.

Dressed in period attire, the Pittsburgh-based Wayward Companions will return to perform 18th-century music in a style that would have been familiar to George Washington, who camped out at the fort in 1758.

Dance callers Tom and Lesley Mack of Luray, Va., also will be on hand again to teach waltzes and other English country dances.

Special treats will be served including spirits, wassail and a traditional Twelfth Night cake, a version of Martha Washington’s “Great Cake” recipe, served at Mount Vernon on Twelfth Night, according to the release.

Enough to serve a crowd, the first First Lady’s cake included 40 eggs, four pounds of sugar and butter, five pounds each of flour and dried fruit, along with wine and brandy.

Nuckles is in charge of making the cake for the Jan. 5 event, Donovan says.

“She actually makes Martha Washington’s recipe. It’s very complicated and it takes her days and days,” Donovan says, adding that Nuckles has the advantage of a commercial kitchen for her project — she and her husband Drue Spallholz are owners of the Eastwood Inn in Ligonier.

The lucky guest who finds a bean baked into their slice of cake will be crowned royalty for the evening.

Guests are encouraged to don 18th century-style clothing, if they have it, or 21st-century after-5 attire, if they don’t.

“Last year, those that weren’t (in period costume) had just as much fun as those that were,” Donovan says.

A ticket for the Twelfth Night Celebration is $50, or $40 for Fort Ligonier Association members.

Reservations should be made by Jan. 2 by contacting Candace Gross at 724-238-9701 or [email protected]

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected]
or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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