Fort Ligonier Days parade tradition marches on
This weekend, Fort Ligonier will marks its 53rd commemoration to honor the anniversary of the Battle of Fort Ligonier, which took place Oct. 12, 1758. The fort has a full schedule of activities for those who include a visit to the fort during Fort Ligonier Days.
Following the opening ceremony at noon Friday, Gen. George Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa, the official portrayer of the nation's first president at Mount Vernon, will greet visitors from 12:30 - 4 p.m. at the fort.
“Dean will be part of the opening ceremony on the Diamond and Saturday's parade,” said Annie Urban director of operations at the fort. “Fort Ligonier has always been a part of Fort Ligonier Days. This year Dean helps us tie it all together.”
The general will talk about his time in Western Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War,
“He will also be presenting some mini-presentations to several school groups that day, and he will be available for photographs with our guests,” she said.
Urban said Malissa's visit is a result of a cooperating effort between the fort association and the Fort Ligonier Days committee.
“Dean has portrayed Gen. Washington here before, and he is just part of our history,” said Urban.
At 3 p.m. Friday there will be a demonstration of troops training for combat. It will be the first time the fort will present a living history activity on the Friday of Fort Ligonier Days Urban said.
“Our big days have always been Saturday and Sunday with artillery and re-enactment battles,” said Urban. “Traditionally, we have not had specific programing that day. This will give people another reason to visit the fort on Friday.”
Urban said Friday's program provides an opportunity to see a different part of the fort's history.
The familiar roar of cannon fire will alert the Ligonier Valley that the troops are ready for battle with artillery demonstrations beginning at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday followed by battle re-enactments at 2 and 4 p.m., weather permitting.
Nearly 75 re-enactors will march to the Ligonier Diamond at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The group will carry flags and a fife and drum group will perform during the Evening Trooping of the Colors march around the Diamond.
Fort guests may visit the British and French military encampments all three days and tour the Fort Ligonier Museum, which features an archeological collection of items unearthed during excavation at the fort, in the History Gallery,
In the French and Indian War Art Gallery, there are 14 original 18th century paintings and “The World Ablaze: An Introduction to the Seven Years' War” permanent exhibit.
Dr. Walter L. Powell, author of the just released expanded edition of “Ghosts and Legends of Fort Ligonier,” will be on hand for book signing Saturday and Sunday.
Admission tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 - 16. Children 5 and under are free. Fort Ligonier will be open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.fortligonier.org or www.facebook.com/fortligonier, or phone 724-238-9701.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or email@example.com.