2nd parade reviewing stand planned for Fort Ligonier Days
When the 54th Fort Ligonier Days community parade winds its way down the west side of Main Street on Oct. 12, there will be no mistakes about who is participating in the event that attracts thousands to the festival every year.
A second parade reviewing stand will be constructed to announce the historic units, floats, costumed characters, Shrine units and special guests, including local TV personalities, high school and college bands.
The idea for a broadcast stage at the west end of the festival came about during a conversation between Fort Ligonier Days co-chairman Bill Stablein and Ron Adams, owner of Ligonier's AM 1620 radio station.
“A few years ago, Bill (Stablein) and I had been talking about setting up the radio booth in his parking lot. When the topic came up again this year, I thought, “We should do it,” said Adams.
Ligonier Radio 1620 will broadcast from the Mack M. Darr Co. parking lot during Fort Ligonier Days this year.
Adams will also announce the participants as they pass by the booth during the parade Saturday morning.
“At first we agreed to broadcast during the three-day event. Then I thought, we can also set up a public address system for the parade,” said Adams. “We're there anyway doing the radio broadcast. Now we can announce for the people as the parade comes down West Main Street.”
Stablein said Adams is like the many other volunteers in the community who, when asked, are willing to help. He said people will get involved when they know you need something for Fort Days.
“It was a spur of the moment decision,” said Stablein. “The really neat thing about this small-town event is how people are always willing to step up. It's as simple as that.”
Stablein, who is president of Mack M. Darr Co., plans to construct an elevated stage in the business's parking lot and provide the electrical hook up needed to broadcast the event.
“It definitely enhances communication at the lower end of town,” said Stablein. “We may even resurrect the original Diamond stage for the parade.”
In case of inclement weather, the broadcast booth will be set up in the back of one of Mack Darr's service trucks.
Adams says the broadcasters plan to interact with festival-goers.
“We will talk to people who walk by and we will even put people on the air,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where people come from to attend Fort Ligonier Days.”
When Ligonier Radio is not playing Oldies music, it will be broadcasting the schedule of events three times every hour.
“We will be mentioning what is coming up next and where it is located,” said Adams.
Adams started his broadcasting career working at a radio station in State College at age 16. After graduating from Penn State, he worked at various radio and television stations in Pittsburgh and Hartford, Conn., before returning to the Pittsburgh airwaves and eventually to Greensburg as morning announcer at Y107.
Adams has lived in Ligonier for 22 years. His home is just two blocks from the West Main Street stage.
Adams said he observed the thousands of people walking up to the top of town and realized they did not know what was going on until they got to the top.
“Now, they will have the opportunity to hear what's going on, while they are walking up the hill,” Adams said. “We are always happy to be a part of Fort Ligonier Days.”
Adams and Tom Mizikar of Laurel Mountain Borough started the local radio station in 2007. Adams conducted two studies and discovered a frequency was not available for listeners in the Ligonier Valley. Mizikar then discovered the Federal Code of Regulation Part 15, allowing operation without an individual license, offering low power AM stations at the upper end of the radio dial.
“We checked it out and found (station) 1620 to be the quietest in Ligonier,” said Adams.
The station went off the air briefly but started back up in 2008 and has been back on the air 24-7 ever since, according to Adams.
Ligonier Radio is also available online at ligonierradio.com and on smart phones by downloading a SHOUT cast application.
Adams' voice can be heard on the morning show. His wife Ursula, who is a teacher at Holy Trinity School, is the night-time voice of Ligonier Radio.
Adams operates Creepy Classics, promoting old-time black and white monster movie events and conventions. He is the publisher of Monster Bash magazine.
“We hope to help the Fort Ligonier Days committee get the word out as people are taking the first steps out into Ligonier,” he said. “We will be the first voice they hear to tell them what is going on as they walk up to town, alerting them to what is happening. It will also give people an opportunity to say hello on the radio.”
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.