Out & About: Fort's Twelfth Night guests party like it's 1776
Fort Ligonier’s second annual Twelfth Night Celebration was a blast from the past, with guests in their Colonial best dress partying like it was 1776.
The Jan. 5 soiree in the fort’s Center for History Education laid the holiday season to rest, after one last hurrah including food, drink, music and dancing.
Playing an encore to last year’s inaugural event were the Wayward Companions, a Pittsburgh-based ensemble of classically trained musicians, who played tunes that would have been familiar to the Founding Fathers on strings, flute and drum.
Country-dance callers Tom and Lesley Mack of Luray, Va., also returned to guide revelers through the steps of popular period dances.
Annie Urban , the fort’s executive director, and Julie Donovan , director of marketing and public relations, circulated through the room, making sure everyone had enough to eat and drink. Meanwhile, staffers Erica Nuckles and Matt Gault were spied tearing up the dance floor.
Special treats included wassail and a traditional Twelfth Night cake baked with dried fruit and spirits and two dried beans tucked into the batter. Whoever finds the beans becomes royalty for the night.
In a happy coincidence, the beans were discovered by history buffs and real-life couple Bill Koker and Lauren Buches , who were quickly crowned king and queen.
Blazing a trail from the Pittsburgh area were Roscoe Lewis, Jeff Jones and Dave Bybee , accompanied by Diane Moyle . The trio portrayed soldiers who were garrisoned at Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.
Towering above the crowd was Dr. Bill Choby of Latrobe, who portrays the Father of Our Country. Choby revealed that he is working on a book about the young George Washington and his ties to fox hunting.
Also on hand was Brett Walker of Gloucester, Va., a journeyman boot and shoemaker who has been examining, cataloging and making a graphic record of Fort Ligonier’s vast collection of archaeologically derived shoe artifacts.
The Twelfth Night crowd also included George and Olive Conte, Jim and Jo Rossi, Ron and Theresa Gay Rohall, Jerry Schulteis and Janet Riordan, Yvonne Stack, Steve and Helen Patricia, James and Helene Paharik, Larry and Pat Smitley, James and Elena Sillaman, Fred and Marie Balzer, Ron and Elizabeth Hobbs, John Beard and Ruthie Stewart and Ray and Tami Meloy.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, email@example.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.