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Reasons to attend Fort Ligonier Days

| Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, 4:22 p.m.

Fall festivals are like opinions. Everyone has one, right? Well, not like this one. Fort Ligonier Days , running Oct. 13-15, is different. How so? Let us count the ways.

  • Fantastic food
  • Funnel cakes have their place, to be sure. But how about authentic Maryland crab cakes ?

    Fort Ligonier Days will have both - and more.

    "It's a mixture of organic to oriental to good old-fashioned fried food," said Ligonier Days chairman Jack McDowell. ''And the crab cakes are tremendous, trust me."

  • Authentic fun

  • A parade without politicians? Fort Ligonier Days has that.

    The emphasis is on bands - high schools, colleges and universities. There will also be local personalities, oddities such as the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile , French and Indian War re-enactors, the local tractor club, and more. Don't miss Santa !

  • Expert crafting

  • Fort Ligonier Days' crafters are juried every year. They have to show that they actually make what they sell to stay involved, McDowell said. That leads to visitors being able to buy - and sometimes make on site - things such as hand-colored silk scarves.

  • Actual atmosphere

  • Fort Ligonier Days isn't an event located in a parking lot or a muddy field. There's a real, honest to goodness downtown here.

    Explore small shops and quirky boutiques, duck into a tiny diner or a great restaurant, and enjoy small-town hospitality in Ligonier. You might find your own hidden gem here in town!

  • Giving back

  • Not only do many nonprofits have booths at Fort Ligonier Days, but the festival itself gives back. Food vendors are required to chip in to Ligonier Days' charitable fund. That gets redistributed to fire departments, churches and others.

    Last year, over $15,000 was donated to local community organizations, McDowell said.

  • Limitless variety

  • This decades-old festival is new every year. Meaning there are always new attractions.

    Welcome Presque Isle Winery to this year's Wine Tasting event. Make sure you try the Lavender Mist wine from Christian Clay Winery , and the Apple Pie Moscato from LaVigneta Winery will warm up a fall day.

  • Hear anything

  • Live music by local entertainers is always a part of the experience. Jeff Jimerson , who does the national anthem at Penguins games, local Country bands, an Irish singer/songwriter/comedian, acoustic guitars, and some great horns are all part of this year's entertainment. There's something for every musical taste.

    Elvis is at the festival this year - don't miss him!

  • Sky show

  • Every year, on Saturday night, at the end of what's essentially a party in the streets, there's a 30-minute fireworks display. It's so popular that some people attend the festival just for them, McDowell said.

    "You can see them anywhere in the valley. People love them," he said.

  • Feeling history

  • Really, how many other towns have an actual eighteenth century fort in their town?

    The battle fought here is long over , having been fought on Oct. 12, 1758. But those who walk through and around the fort this weekend and you can smell campfire wood smoke, gunpowder, hear muskets and cannons fire, see re-enactors and more. There's a whole slate of activities on tap.

  • Sensational sights

  • The scenery around Fort Ligonier Days is unlike anywhere. There are colorful leaves, clear waters and beautiful mountains. It's the perfect setting.

So the question is not whether to attend Fort Ligonier Days.

It's planning how many days you will spend enjoying one of the region's outstanding traditions.

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