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Fort Ligonier turns back clock for Twelfth Night Celebration

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, 11:03 a.m.
This Twelfth Night cake shows the 'lucky slice,' containing a bean, whose recipient will be crowned king of Twelfth Night according to tradition.
This Twelfth Night cake shows the 'lucky slice,' containing a bean, whose recipient will be crowned king of Twelfth Night according to tradition.

With the 2017 holiday season winding down, Fort Ligonier will keep the festivities going with a public Twelfth Night Celebration from 7 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 6.

This new event, which will be held in the Center for History Education, will bring back a colonial holiday tradition and feature live 18th century music by Wayward Companions, with Virginians' Tom and Lesley Mack calling and guiding English country dances.

Guests will enjoy wassail and other tasty treats, according to a release.

Twelfth Night Celebrations took place on Jan. 6, the final day of the holiday season during the 18th century. Also called the Epiphany or Three Kings' Day, the event featured a cake with a surprise, often a bean or a coin, baked into it. The person receiving the slice with the hidden item was crowned the king of Twelfth Night.

Fort Ligonier will feature a version of Martha Washington's "Great Cake" recipe, served on Twelfth Night at Mount Vernon. The concoction included a staggering 40 eggs, four pounds of sugar and butter, five pounds each of flour and dried fruit, and wine and brandy.

Twelfth Night was George and Martha Washington's wedding anniversary, chosen by the nation's first president. According to the release, he was eager to return to Virginia to marry Martha Custis following his service at Fort Ligonier and the successful taking of Fort Duquesne in 1758. He selected an early marriage date in 1759, the date considered the luckiest day of the year.

"The Twelfth Night Celebration at Fort Ligonier will be a fun and festive event to learn about 18th century history and traditions through food, drink, music, and dancing," says Erica Nuckles, director of history and collections, in the release.

"This was the most special night of the holiday season in the 18th century and I am excited to share the merriment with all of our Fort friends, both old and new," Nuckles says.

Tickets are $35 for Fort Association members and $45 for non-members.

Guests are encouraged to dress in their finest 18th century clothing or 21st century after 5 p.m. attire.

For tickets, call 724-238-9701 or contact Candace Gross at by Dec. 29.


Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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