Thousands will line the streets for Fort Ligonier Days parade
Everybody loves a parade – but nobody loves it more than Tom Stablein, chairman of the Fort Ligonier Days parade committee.
He has been overseeing one of the signature events of the three-day celebration for 22 years.
Stablein and his 16-member volunteer committee couldn’t be prouder of the 100-unit community parade that will wind its way along East and West Main streets in Ligonier starting at 11 a.m. on Oct. 13.
This year’s parade will feature traditional floats and 20 marching bands hailing from as far away as Morgantown, W.Va. and Butler, in addition to horse teams, antique cars, a full contingent of Syria Shrine clowns and other units, led by parade marshal Pittsburgh television personality Sally Wiggin.
Stablein said one of the featured units will be a Wells Fargo Stagecoach group that will present a combat wounded veteran with a new vehicle as part of the Military Warriors Support Foundation “Transportation 4 Heroes” program.
The popular juried parade will take one and a half hours to view in its entirety, Stablein said, “And we’ll have 50,000 people standing on the streets watching it who wouldn’t miss it.”
Jack McDowell, chairman of Fort Ligonier Days board of directors, said an estimated 100,000 people will visit the Westmoreland County town during the fall festival weekend Oct. 12-14.
“Ligonier’s Heritage: Then Now” is the theme for this year’s Fort Ligonier Days.
The celebration in its 59th year commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier, a key engagement of the French and Indian War on Oct. 12, 1758. McDowell, who also has been involved in planning Fort Ligonier Days for more than 20 years, said the weekend will feature battle reenactments and artillery demonstrations, along with a full lineup of family entertainment, more than 200 crafters and food vendors.
Walk, run and dash
Fort Ligonier Days annual 5K Walk/Run will get under way at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 14 at Ligonier Valley High School. Runners and walkers will race through the festival area, including around the Ligonier Diamond.
The Kids’ Cannon Ball Dash will follow, starting at 9:30 a.m., for boys and girls ages 10 and under.
Shuttles and more
Fort Ligonier and Museum Store will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 12-13 and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 14 with encampment and Living History demonstrations. Regular admission fees will be charged.
Free shuttle bus service, craft loop shuttles and handicapped accessible buses will be provided from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 12-13 and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14 from the parking lot at Ligonier Valley High School and the Laurel Valley Golf Club. Buses also will be available after fireworks and concert on Oct. 13
Pets are not allowed in the festival areas; no backpacks or open containers are permitted.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.