Penn’s Colony Festival mixes history, crafts, food, fun
Casey Jones posed for a picture Sunday in a pillory, with his arms and head through the holes of the device formerly used for punishment by public humiliation.
Instead of public mockery, his family had a good-natured laugh and snapped a picture before they continued to make their way around the Penn’s Colony Festival in Clinton Township.
“I just like coming to these things,” said Jones, 23, of Brownsville. “They’re fun to come to.”
This is the 36th year for the festival that highlights the region’s role in the French and Indian War along with featuring the goods and crafts of nearly 200 vendors and artisans.
The event includes battle reenactments, historical magic shows and live Irish, English and Scottish music.
The festival began this weekend and will also be held next Saturday and Sunday.
“It is educational, but it’s not just a history festival,” said Beth Rush, fesitival promotions manager. “Everybody walks away with something that’s very special.”
Rush said the festival typically sees about 8,000 people each day. It features everything from homemade jewelry and pottery to local authors and food vendors.
“When people come here, they’re kind of transformed for a day and they really love it,” she said.
Robert Sayre of Stanton Heights, Pittsburgh, brought his children to the festival because they’re into history and enjoy festivals like this.
“It’s nice, it’s fun,” he said. “The vendors are nice, and it’s relatively affordable.”
Casey Jones, the man in the pillory, was wearing an outfit from Assassin’s Creed that resembled traditional dress. He said he enjoys dressing up in costumes.
Rachel Francis of Valencia watched as a demonstration was done on glassblowing by Vessel Glass.
“It’s pretty cool they can just do it out here,” she said. “We typically come every year.”
Lee Dingus, a Seneca Native American, and her husband Aniyun Wiyv, a Cherokee Native American, were there to educate attendees about the Native American history of the region.
“I want to show people that we were the first people here and we’re still here,” Dingus said. “It’s a good opportunity to meet a lot of people and open their eyes to things.”
Johnny Smith and Val Shuppe of Saltsburg had a camp set up like a French artillery camp with nearly all of the items handcrafted, including their outfits.
“A lot of people don’t know the history in their own backyard,” Smith said.
Smith had a replica of a small cannon that he uses in the battle reenactments. He said they travel to different festivals several weekends a year to educate people and have a good time.
“I wish I could make a living doing this,” he said.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .