Laurel Highlands Festivals
2012 Fall Festivals in Western Pennsylvania
We are in the middle of the region’s wonderful fall festival season. Starting the weekend after Labor Day until November, you’ll find a bumper crop of unique special events that coincide with each other to celebrate the Laurel Highlands’ agricultural heritage.
Inside Scoop on upcoming events
Fort Ligonier Days - October 12-14
One of the most exciting fall festivals in the Laurel Highlands, Fort Ligonier Days, centers on the annual commemoration of the Battle of Fort Ligonier which took place October 12, 1758. Fort Ligonier, an impressive full-scale, on-site restoration/reconstruction of the 1758 – 1766 original fort is situated on a commanding hilltop overlooking the beautiful Laurel Highlands. During Fort Ligonier Days, the fort explodes with activity as the sounds of artillery and battle demonstrations can be heard throughout the hills. French & Indian War encampments are located throughout the fort as the smell of wood smoke floats through the air.
Don’t miss Fort Ligonier’s Museum where you can see George Washington’s original saddle pistols and his hand-written memoirs about his time spent on the Pennsylvania frontier during this period in his military career. George will be in the museum on Friday. After visiting the fort, plan on enjoying the other festivities taking place throughout town including the spectacular parade that begins at 11:00 AM Saturday with the U.S. Marine Corps Band heading up the parade. History buffs will enjoy the colonial lantern walk through town Saturday evening as reenactors and militia walk from the fort through town dressed in period garb swinging lanterns.
Haunted History Hayride at Bushy Run Battlefield – October 20th
Another fun way to learn more about Laurel Highlands history is to go on the Annual Haunted History Hayride at Bushy Run Battlefield, Saturday, October 20th, 7-10 PM. Reserve your seats (after October 1st) by calling 724-527-5584. Explore 213 acres of the battlefield on a hay wagon while hearing the compelling story of the events of Pontiac’s War, an important theme in American history.
Other Popular Fall Festivals in the Laurel Highlands
A longtime favorite of festival goers is Mountain Craft Days held on the scenic grounds of the Somerset Historical Center. This three-day event features over 125 craft artisans, musicians and entertainers who interpret early Pennsylvania life on farm homesteads from the 1770s and 1830s.
Just a short distance up the road is the Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee in New Centerville. Down home country fun at is best, demonstrations of antique farm equipment, apple pie contest, quilt show and fun activities for kids from a hay bale toss to a pedal power tractor pull.
Over the mountain in Stahlstown is the Annual Flax Scutching Festival. A Scots-Irish craft that separates linen fibers from the flax plant. The region’s descendants have kept this festival going for 105 years. Other crafts include tin punching and lace making rounded out with a dramatic Indian raid, bonfires, music and more.
Later in September, history buffs will not want to miss the Berlin Whiskey Rebellion Heritage Festival and the Ligonier Highland Games. The Whiskey Rebellion began when the government placed an excise tax on all whiskey. Western Pennsylvanian's felt unfairly discriminated against and demonstrated against the tax and the government. They carried out riots, demonstrations, and even tarred and feathered excise collectors. President Washington was concerned about the region west of the Alleghenies succeeding from the union. He sent 13,000 militia men to Pittsburgh to crush the rebellion.
This family-friendly event features historical demonstrations, reenactments, crafts, a parade and music. Get out your kilt and head to the Ligonier Highland Games, where everyone is Scottish, even if it’s just for a day. Held on the grounds of Idlewild Park in Ligonier, you will feel as if you’ve been transported to Brigadoon as you’ll be surrounded by kilt-clad athletes competing in games, massed bagpipe bands, Scottish terriers and the smell of shepherd’s pie in the air.
In October, is the annual 3-day Fort Ligonier Days festival that commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier, a key engagement of the French and Indian War, fought on October 12, 1758. On the grounds of the Fort is the re-enactment of the Battle of Fort Ligonier at 2 & 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss the elaborate and entertaining parade that proceeds down Main Street around Ligonier's picturesque Diamond at 11am on Saturday.
Keep Up-to-Date with ALL Laurel Highlands events!
Browse our full events calendar to find the perfect event for you anytime of the year! Special events and festivals in PA's Laurel Highlands run year-round, ensuring that you'll always experience unique festivals, fairs, art shows, museum exhibits, theater performances, live music & concerts when visiting the region. Check out our interactive Calendar of Events now!
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