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Flax Scutching Festival celebrates 106th year in Ligonier Valley

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Visitors will take a step back in time at the 106th annual Flax Scutching Festival Saturday and Sunday in Stahlstown.

The oldest active festival of its type in the United States, it is a celebration of Ligonier Valley's rich traditions and promises to be enjoyable for the entire family.

A variety of performers and activities are schedule for the event. “Generations of families participate in the Flax Scutching Festival,” said Marilee Pletcher, the event's chairwoman. “We have some families who have been attending for four or five generations.”

Pletcher of Stahlstown credits the hard-working volunteers for the success of the event.

“The festival has always been run entirely by volunteers; they plan all year long,” said Pletcher.

Demonstrations featuring the art of making linen from the flax plant, blacksmithing, quilting, pottery and doll-making will take place throughout the weekend.

Entertainment will include live country, bluegrass and gospel music, a children's area featuring performances by the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, vendor craft booths and displays of antique farming equipment.

Guests can experience the mid-19th century by exploring a Civil War encampment and observing the traditional mock Indian raid – which takes place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Homemade food such as buckwheat cakes, hand-pressed apple cider and delicious desserts will be available for purchase.

The festival grounds are located at Monticue Grove along Route 711, and tickets for the event are $4 per person.

The festival will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with a formal opening ceremony with the Rev. Anthony Hita. Saturday morning will also include the dedication of a new flag pole constructed on the grounds.

Tom DiDiano III, a member of Ligonier Boy Scout Troop 375, planned and oversaw the project as part of his requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program.

The Scout troop has been participating in the festival for a number of years and usually constructs a flag pole out of a tree to hold the American flag during their morning and evening ceremonies.

“I thought there was a better way to present the flag,” said DiDiano, who completed the project over the summer.

DiDiano said he wanted to see a more permanent fixture. The display, which includes a cement path and a light, can be seen from Route 711.

“It was a great project and he did a very nice job,” said Pletcher.

“Fiddlin' Ray” Bruckman of Ligonier will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday. Bruckman, 19, is the 2012 winner of the Pennsylvania Grand Master Fiddle Championship.

A talented songwriter, Bruckman plays a variety of stringed instruments.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.