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Ligonier Valley groups promote hope, health and history

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Local residents and area visitors will have an opportunity to promote health, history and hope when three different events take place around the Valley this weekend.

The 24-hour Ligonier Valley Relay for Life fundraiser starts Friday afternoon at Weller Field in Ligonier. Donations collected at the event provide money for cancer research and hope for cancer patients.

On Saturday morning, the Ligonier Country Market will open one week earlier that usual. The market provides a good source of healthy food choices for the community.

On Sunday afternoon, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor group will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway during a celebration at the new Lincoln Highway Experience Museum located near Kingston Bridge in Latrobe.

Market gets an early start to season

Established in 1976 as part of the nation's bicentennial celebration, the Ligonier Country Market is the largest and oldest producers-only farmers' market in Western Pennsylvania. More than 100 vendors attend the weekly market to sell products that comply with the market's motto,” Make it, bake it or grow it”.

This year's market will be expanding musical entertainment offering throughout the season.

“We have some great musical groups lined up,” said Linda Sinemus chairman of public affairs and special features. “We had a good response to the groups we featured last year from the patrons and vendors. So we decided to expand on our musical acts.”

The first group to perform is Laura Thurston-One Woman Band on May 25. Other groups include Laurel Highlands Blue Grass Festival on June 15, Steel Clover — Celtic music on July 27, Bruce Golightly —60's folk music on Aug. 3, Riverside Players — dulcimer music on Aug. 10, Aaron the Uke Slinger on Aug. 24, Harvey Zalevsky — electric guitar music on Aug. 31 and Terry Greene — bagpiper on Sept. 21.

“It is something we decided to do to provide a different layer of entertainment at the market,” said Sinemus.

The featured vendor this Saturday is the American Association for Lost Kids.

When children are abducted, the group goes into action to rescue a missing child.

“It sounds simple, but I physically go out and search for these children,” Mark Miller founder of the organization explains. “A lot of agencies or P.I.'s will take your money-up to $1,500 a day — but don't take action. They may post fliers or place photos on milk cartons, but they never go out looking for children. Missing children deserve more than a photo on a milk carton.”

Miller will be on hand to offer his 25 years of expertise in the field of missing child rescues and give safety tips for children at risk.

Area children are also invited to participate with the children's garden on the market grounds by learning how to plant, tend and harvest vegetables in the two raised beds and surrounding area.

Children may register at the Kid's Corner tent near the garden on Saturday.

“Our mission is to educate not just supply vendors,” said Sinemus. “We want to educate the public where food comes from. And, to do that you need to start with the children.”

The actual planting will occur on June 1 and will be overseen by Penn State master gardeners and members of the Weeders and Seeders Club, led by Dr. Wilma Light.

The children may tend to the garden by watering and weeding while they are attending the market each week with their parents.

Harvesting of the vegetables will be done as crops come in and all can share in the bounty if they are signed up for the initial planting session.

“Some studies suggest that children will be more likely to eat vegetables that they had a hand in growing,” said Sinemus. “When they get involved in the planting process, they get to eat the vegetables they grow.”

The Ligonier Country Market is located on the edge of Ligonier at the corner of West Main Street and Springer Road. The market will continue 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Oct. 5.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit the website at or call 727-858-7894.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or

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