Volunteers decorate Ligonier Diamond Saturday
Decorating the Ligonier Diamond for the Christmas season has been a long-standing tradition. Coordinated by the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, the holiday-themed displays, lighted trees and decorated tree in the middle of the Bandstand have been enjoyed for generations.
Ken Allison of Ligonier Township remembers bringing his family to see the Christmas displays. So, without hesitation, when the local contractor heard the vintage wagon was in need of repair, he volunteered to restore it.
“I like the tradition of the light-up night and decorating the Diamond,” Allison said. “When my kids were little, we would take them there and walk around the displays.”
Allison took the bed of the wagon to his garage on Nov. 4.
“We thought the wagon was one piece but discovered we could take the bed right off,” Allison said.
The under carriage remains at the township building where committee volunteer Bob McCoy will repaint it red.
Allison said he discovered the under carriage and axle of the horse-drawn wagon were in good shape.
“The bed of the wagon is completely shot. It has been patched over the years and the wood is rotted,” Allison said. “I am building a whole new notched bed and will paint it green like the original.”
The local contractor said he will use rough cut hemlock lumber, donated by Patrick Donovan Logging of Ligonier, so it will look closer to how the 1800s-era utility farm wagon may have looked when it was new.
Allison deflects all credit to the volunteers who work every year to put the display together.
“This is a small thing they asked me to do and I have no problem helping them out,” Allison said.
In the meantime, the decorating committee, chaired by Tom and Nancy Donchez, hasalready began checking lights and making bows. More than 200 strings of lights were checked.
“We repaired 50 strands of lights. We spent days and days doing that.” Tom Donchez said.
Donations collected at a fundraiser with the Ligonier Creamery in July and a donation from the Fort Ligonier Days committee will be used to purchase new lights. New, larger Christmas balls and new ribbons will be added to the tree.
“We are planning to purchase LED lights for the lamppost garland,” Tom Donchez said.
After this season, Donchez said he will be looking for volunteers to repaint gingerbread house and some of carolers and majors pieces.
The Bandstand tree will again be donated by Carl Campbell of Donegal.
“He has donated a tree for the past several years,” Tom Donchez said. “It saves us. A tree that size could cost $250 to purchase.
The couple said they enjoy donating time to chair the decorating committee.
“We enjoy the atmosphere of the town at Christmas when it is decorated. People come from far and wide to see the decorations,” Tom Donchez said.
“We enjoy helping the community any way we can,” Nancy Donchez said.
They credited the many volunteers for the success of the annual project.
“We could not do it ourselves. We always count on volunteers who come out on two Saturdays in November to help. If not for them, it would take us a lot longer to put the decorations up,” Tom Donchez said.
“These volunteers take the job without any questions. They jump right in and help,” Nancy Donchez said. “Bob McCoy is Tom’s right-hand man and Paul Fry and the borough workers help us deliver and place the heavy stuff.”
Volunteers are needed to decorate 9 a.m. Saturday and Nov. 22.
“The close dedication of all the community members who step in and help is what makes it so special. That’s just how Ligonier is,” Nancy Donchez said.
Contact the chamber office if you are able to help or if you have any questions at 724-238-4200.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or [email protected].