Named one of American Bus Association's "Top 100 Events in America," Fort Ligonier Days is a three-day festival that commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier, a monumental affair of the French and Indian War fought on October 12, 1758. Join the fun of the Fort's 60th celebration. The festivities start at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 and come to an end at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13.
According to many historians, the events that occurred at Fort Ligonier signified the actual beginning of the American Revolution. Pittsburgh exists today because of the key, strategic battle that occurred at Fort Ligonier in 1758. The original fort, called the "Post at Loyalhanna," was constructed in September of 1758. By late October of that year, George Washingtown had arrived at Loyalhanna, but not before the defeat of a British force at Fort Duquesne on September 14 and the successful defense of the Loyalhanna from a French attack on October 12. Heavily outnumbered, the French abandoned Fort Duquesne, which became Fort Pitt and is now present day Point State Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers come together to form the Ohio River.
Experience the rare opportunity of seeing Fort Ligonier’s artillery in action. The arsenal of cast bronze weapons includes an eight-inch bronze howitzer and carriage, a light brass six-pounder, gun sleighs, block carriages and a fieldpiece, which fires a round shot, grape or canister, and is mounted on carriages with large wheels.
Definitely a favorite at the Fort, the reenactment is an exhilarating history lesson for every member of the family. During the reenactment, you will witness a showing of military tactics, drills, cannon firings, ceremonies, Highlanders, frontier men and women, redcoats, French troops, Indians and music from 1758. Note: Regular admission fees still apply for activities at the Fort.
Click here for a full schedule of the weekend's events.
The entire town of Ligonier participates in the Fort Ligonier Day festivities, offering more than 200 artisans and craft vendors in addition to more than 60 specialty shops and restaurants that reside in Ligonier year-round.
The elaborate and exciting parade is an event you don't want to miss during Fort Ligonier Days. The procession starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday on Main Street and continues around the charming Ligonier Diamond. The parade is sure to entertain young and old alike, featuring historic groups with reenactors, local television personalities, Shriners, college and high school bands, bagpipers and, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary, the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band will join the procession!
Find more than 30 food booths around the Diamond and around town. Walking to and from festivities is sure to make you hungry, and the variety of food available will satisfy every palate. The list of foods available goes on and on: funnel cakes, pies, gobs, apple dumplings, crab cakes, roast beef sandwiches, pierogies, authentic gyros, hot sausage, cheesesteaks and more fall flavors. Sit-down meals are available at several local churches and many restaurants in town. Click here for a list of all food vendors and a map of where you can find them.
While walking around town, browse and shop more than 200 vendor booths in six different locations. There is also a shuttle bus that runs between each lot. The six official craft lots are: Fairfield lot, Loyalhanna lot, Mellon Park lot, Municipal lot, Train Station East lot and Train Station West lot.
Talented artisans will display and sell their homemade items including wood furniture, candles, paintings, stained glass, jewelry, leather, baskets, pottery and much more! Be sure to also check out local merchants holding sidewalk sales! They set up their sales on Thursday and are available the entire festival weekend.
Nonstop live music will set the tone of the Fort Ligonier Days weekend, and it's free! The outdoor concerts include something for everyone - Celtic, Country Rock, Brass, Oldies, tribute bands and even big names from the '50s and '60s!
Don't miss the fireworks display at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 immediately following Jay and The Americans.
Sample wines from ten different wineries throughout the Laurel Highlands and buy a bottle (or a few) to enjoy at home. Click here for a list of the wine tasting booths and where you can find them.