Fort Ligonier Days food: delicious and unique
If you're hungry for the unique, Fort Ligonier Days will feed your appetite.
There will be 28 food booths on the Diamond featuring everything from gourmet grilled cheese to coconut shrimp and most important ‑ no duplications.
All of the food booths on the Diamond during Fort Ligonier Days are sponsored by and benefit local non-profit organizations.
It's part of a long-standing relationship the community benevolent societies have with the Fort Ligonier Days planning committees.
“Many years ago the board asked for help from local non-profits as a community service project to help the fort out,” said Smith, food booth committee chairman. “Their help is important and thankfully the list continues to grow.”
Each of the Diamond food booths will be serving something different rather than several vendors serving similar fare like hot dogs and hamburgers, Smith said.
“I've challenged the food vendors to be creative and they are responding,” said Smith,
Among the delicious and unusual will be quesadillas, wraps and chocolates by Firefly Chocolates sponsored by the Ligonier Lions Club; chicken, steak and lamb pitas, salads, or vegetables and rice from Kavalek's sponsored by Tall Cedars; fruit pies, cobblers, sundaes and cheesecake from Sand Hill Berries sponsored by Weeders and Seeders; doughnuts, french toast, beef, chicken or pork tacos from the Supper Club sponsored by the Historical Society; roast beef sandwiches from the Darlington Volunteer Fire Department; chicken-salad sandwiches and baked goods from Abigail's sponsored by the Ligonier Valley Marching Band; and General Tso's and sweet-and-sour chicken from Courtyard Catering sponsored by the Ligonier Valley Library.
The Ligonier Valley Library joins a long list of new food vendor sponsors this year including Valley Center for Active Adults, Loyalhanna and Mountain Watershed associations, Epiphany Angelican Fellowship, Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, Meals on Wheels and the Bethlen Communities. Bethlen will be serving a curious and seasonal appropriate dish–Transylvania goulash and mashed potatoes.
Timea Szec, director of cultural programs for Bethlen Communities and the food coordinator for its Fort Ligonier Days food booth said she is excited to bring a piece of Hungarian culture to the festival. The Transylvania goulash is pork and sauerkraut, Hungarian spices, served with homemade-bread from Darlington Inn.
“Bethlen Communities is part of Ligonier and its history dating back to 1921. We want to share our Hungarian culture and heritage and the pride we have in being part of the community,” said Szec.
Employees of the Bethlen Cultural Center will prepare and serve the Hungarian dishes including homemade pastries while dressed in traditional Hungarian costumes. In addition, the newly constructed food booths will also represent the culture of Hungary. Fort Ligonier Days is now a 50-50 proposition with half the attention paid to 1758 Battle of Fort Ligonier and the other half paid to the town and the goodwill of its people according to Smith.
“It's a wonderful showcase for our town,” said Smith.
Smith hopes to continue to grow the food success portion of the event to match the success of the parade.
Smith has encouraged vendors and sponsors to answer the needs of an ever intelligent and demanding consumer.
“I envision a grazing situation, people walking around the Diamond trying two-to-three things each day,” said Smith. “Seeing and smelling what's offered and being enticed by what others are enjoying.”
Smith is happy with the excitement of the vendors to offer a wide variety of foods and is looking forward to many satisfied visitors.
Local churches open doors to visitors
Several churches will join the Ligonier Valley YMCA to offer additional food venues during Fort Ligonier Days.
Heritage United Methodist Church on the Diamond will conduct a pancake breakfast 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The meal includes pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee . Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
United Methodists Working Together will provide a hospitality area in the fellowship room of the Heritage United Methodist Church at the South Market Street entrance. Tables and chairs are available for people to bring in food from outdoor vendors. Water, cookies, pretzels are available at no charge.
Pioneer Presbyterian Church will offer hotdogs and sauerkraut, haluski and hot and cold beverages 9 a.m .to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 240 West Main Street.
St. James Lutheran Church will serve coffee, donuts and baked goods Saturday before the parade from 7:30 a.m. until sold out at 300 W. Main St. They will also serve hotdogs, pulled-pork sandwiches, cold beverages and desserts 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Ligonier Valley YMCA will have kettle korn, caramel apples, cotton candy, roasted nuts, cheesecake, chocolate-dipped strawberries, funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, pierogies, steak hoagies and wings during the festival at 110 W. Church St.
Diana Lasko is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.