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Beauty of Ligonier on full display during ‘fun’ Fort Ligonier Days |
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Beauty of Ligonier on full display during ‘fun’ Fort Ligonier Days

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Dubbed by Country Living Magazine as one of the “The Most Charming Small Towns in America,” Ligonier and all its appeal will be on full display for the region’s three-day fall festival, Fort Ligonier Days .

The Oct. 12-14 celebration commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier , a pivotal moment in the French and Indian War.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14.

In its 59th season, the event features all the best that the small town has to offer, event Chair Jack McDowell said.

“I could tell you 100 reasons to come to Fort Days,” McDowell said. “But there’s one big reason, and that’s because it’s fun.”

McDowell said he was recruited by a friend to participate for a short bit.

“It is now over 20 years and that’s because of one reason: It’s fun,” he said.

The three-day schedule is brimming with food, history and music. There are special events, too, like “one of the best parades you’ll ever see,” McDowell said. Visitors can line East and West Main streets for the 11 a.m. procession on Oct. 13.

Traditional floats and costumed characters will join historic and Shriner units. Local TV personalities along with high school and college bands also will be on display.

For adults and children alike, the annual 5K race will step off at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 14, followed by the Kid’s Cannon Ball Dash. Line-up is at Ligonier Valley High School.

Encampments that detail frontier life, military tactics and music from 1758 will be on display throughout the weekend.

McDowell said a favorite part of Fort Days are the battle reenactments and artillery demonstrations.

“To see history close up, hear the boom of the cannon and smell the gun smoke is just plain fun,” he said.

More than 30 food booths will satisfy the hungriest of visitors, dotting the area from the picturesque Diamond area between North and South Market streets to the Train Stations East and West. Up for grabs will be roast beef sandwiches, funnel cakes, crab cakes, cheesesteaks and gyros, plus all the sweets you can eat from pies to cookies to apple dumplings. Also, visit one of the 20 local restaurants around the town.

Live music will play from noon till night each day, including Celtic rockers, an ’80s band and a Johnny Cash tribute.

Event Details

Oct. 12

6;30 a.m. to 1 p.m: Pancake breakfast at the Heritage United Church

9 a.m.: Food vendors and craft booths open; Fort Ligonier and museum store open. Children can “meet” British General John Forbes and play with colonial toys and games.

10 a.m.: Ligonier merchant sidewalk sales begin.

Noon: Official opening ceremony.

1 p.m.: Southern rockers Renegade Ridge begin playing, followed by acoustic act Wayne Shaffer and Celtic rock group Full Kilt.

6 p.m.: 1980s band Cousin Neddie

Oct. 13

6;30 a.m. to 1 p.m: Pancake breakfast at the Heritage United Church

9 a.m.: Food, crafts and wine-tastings open; Fort Ligonier and museum store open.

10 a.m.: Ligonier merchant sidewalk sales begin.

11 a.m.: Community parade along East and West Main streets

1:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Acoustic duo Jane West & Joe Golden play

1:30 p.m.: Artillery demonstration and reenactment of the 1758 Battle of Fort Ligonier

3 to 4:30 p.m.: Country band The Stickers plays

3:30 p.m.: Artillery demonstration and reenactment of the 1758 Battle of Fort Ligonier

5 p.m.: Fort Ligonier closes

7:30 p.m.: Forces of Fort Ligonier parade around the Diamond (gazebo)

8:45 p.m.: Fireworks will follow 7 Bridges, an Eagles tribute band.

Oct. 14

8:30 a.m.: 5K run/walk begins at Ligonier Valley High School

9:30 a.m.: Kid’s Cannon Ball Dash

10 a.m.: Services in the Upper Fort

10:30 a.m.: Food, crafts and wine tasting open; merchant sidewalk sales begin

1 to 2:30 p.m.: Johnny Cash tribute band Ole 97 plays

1 to 4 p.m.: Acoustic band Gashouse Annie plays

1 p.m. and 3 p.m.: Artillery demonstration and reenactment of the 1758 Battle of Fort Ligonier

3:30 to 5 p.m.: Neon Swing X-perience

4:30 p.m.: Fort Ligonier closes

5 p.m.: Official closing ceremony on the Diamond

“As chairman I marvel every year when the event opens and our amazing town is transformed into one of the best, if not the best, small-town festivals in America,” McDowell said.

“It’s fun to meet old friends and make new ones, to treat your appetite to all kinds of food and drink,” he added. “The people who pour into Ligonier every October brave the crowds and parking and know they’ll end up the day with tired feet. They come here for one reason because it’s fun.”

For more, visit .

Of note

• Free shuttle bus service, craft loop shuttles and handicapped accessible buses will be provided from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 12-13 and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14 from the parking lot at Ligonier Valley High School and the Laurel Valley Golf Club.

• Pets are not allowed in the festival areas.

• No backpacks or open containers permitted.

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