Festival celebrates Elizabeth's Lewis and Clark connections
While the rock band the Ages provided a modern sound on Elizabeth's Plum Street on Thursday night, a walk next door took visitors back 200 years.
The Monongahela River Chapter of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation opened the annual Lewis & Clark Gateway Festival with the John Walker Dinner at Rockwell's Red Lion.
Thursday's dinner recalled the builder of a keelboat used by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in their trek across North America beginning on Aug. 31, 1803.
“This is part reunion and part reenactment,” accountant Bill Boucher said.
Elizabeth is welcoming back many who took part in 2003-2006 reenactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“You need to own this story,” said Scott Mandrell of St. Louis, who portrays Lewis in the film “Lewis & Clark, Confluence of Time and Courage,” which will be shown on Friday at 2 and Saturday at 4 at the Grand Theatre, 207 S. Second Ave.
“It is not just the story of Lewis and Clark,” Mandrell said. “It is the story of western expansion. It is the story of boat building.”
The expedition was President Thomas Jefferson's attempt to reach out to Native Americans living along the Missouri River.
“Subsequent administrations bastardized that intent,” Mandrell said. “Native people in this country suffered mightily.”
Ed Hale of the Pittsburgh American Indian Center led prayers in a native tongue to the Great Spirit, as Native Americans called God.
Andy Janicki of Georgetown, Beaver County, portrayed Patrick Gass during the reenactment.
“He was the chief carpenter,” Janicki's wife, Mary, said of Gass. “He was elected to sergeant after Sgt. Charles Floyd died.”
Floyd was the expedition's only fatality, apparently as a result of appendicitis.
At 63, Gass married a 17-year-old Virginia girl and had eight children. The Janickis said Eugene Gass Painter, Gass's great-grandson, is 95 and lives in Washington County.
The festival continues at noon on Friday and Saturday along S. Second and Plum Street. Flag raising is at 12:30.
At 2:30 each day, John McNulty will teach kids a manual of arms using wooden rifles.
On Friday at 3 and Saturday at 4:30, Ed Falvo of Elizabeth Township Historical Society will teach about frontier medicine. He has every medicine that Lewis knew except opium and laudanum, and tools that date back to 1803.
At 3:30 each day, McNulty and Falvo will talk about “river conditions, then and now.”
At 4 on Friday and 5 on Saturday at the Grand Theatre, reenactor and retired Army Col. Ed Scholl will give a PowerPoint program and sign copies of his “Lewis & Clark in the Twenty-First Century.”
On Friday at 4:30 there will be camping on the Lewis & Clark Trail, while at 5 there will be “Songs of the Trail.”
On both days at 5:30 there will be Native American demonstrations, songs and dances, then a flag lowering at 6:30.
On Saturday there will be lessons on fire starting from the Lewis and Clark era at 7 and then stories, tall tales and a sing-along around the campfire at 7:30.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Day of prayer at McKeesport church shines light on HIV, AIDS
- Dump truck incident takes out traffic lights on Long Run Road in White Oak
- Elizabeth Township promotes police veteran to chief
- Police: Man arrested in McKeesport on stalking, other charges had loaded gun
- Elizabeth Township drops its solicitor, names interim replacement
- East Allegheny officials discuss cost savings, turf’s status at workshop meeting
- McKeesport heritage center event recognizes famous black Mon Valley musicians
- Clairton City School District seeks savings in food service management
- Elizabeth Forward action to raise some school lunch prices
- Vigil at site of homicide remembers slain McKeesport plumber
- Steel Valley to post teacher, administrator salaries online