St. Vincent student creates Fort Ligonier Days film
Begin with an over-half century community tradition, sprinkle in a video camera, add a dash of history, commemoration, food and festival, throw in a dollop of a dedicated chamber of commerce and top it off with a talented college student, and you've just come up with the 2013 Fort Ligonier Days documentary film, a project highlighting and chronicling the elements of Fort Ligonier Days, the annual festival held for three days every October in honor of the 1758 Battle of Fort Ligonier.
The person behind the lens is Tim Turcik, a Ligonier native and student at St. Vincent College, who decided to take on the project after hearing about it via the college's career center.
“It was a big opportunity,” Turcik explained. “The project introduces or shares the history and lifestyle of this town. It shows that people are still interested in the history of the Ligonier Valley, and how the town and its people have grown and developed since the 18th century.”
Turcik's videoed account embraces the opening ceremony, the parade, the food and craft vendors, the various concerts, the fireworks, the relay races at the high school and the closing ceremony. He especially enjoyed the opportunity to film the fireworks celebration from the Town Hall's bell tower.
“I was pleased the chamber trusted me so much,” he stated. “It was their vision as much as it was mine.”
Holly Mowrey, executive director of the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce, believes in having as much documentation as possible of community events. She decided to reach out to local students who may be interested in such an undertaking, providing them with an opportunity, as well. Mowrey noted the value such projects have to both antiquity and posterity, citing the documented account of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's visit to the Fort.
“There's an historic value, it's a community archive — if someone ever wants to go back to that time, they can,” she stated. “Tim did a really nice job — we were thrilled to have him.”
Turcik's own favorite element of Fort Ligonier Days are the battle reenactments, an event he remembers vividly from early youth.
“What captured me was the fact that so many people are interested or have not lost interest in the history of Ligonier Valley, and that they want to continue to share it as each year passes,” he said.
When asked what his 6-year-old self, the young boy captivated by the battle reenactment, would say if told then that he'd go on to film an account of Fort Days, Turcik said, “he would've laughed and walked off.”
Though this stands as his first major directorial debut for the area, it certainly may not be his last.
“There are many events worth documenting,” he said. “The building of the Flight 93 Memorial, the maintenance of the Loyalhanna Creek, the many activities offered by Seven Springs, the Laurel Highland Games, the Flax Scutching Festival, the Bluegrass Festival, the Ligonier Country Market, Antiques on the Diamond and more.”
Rebecca Ridinger is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.