Fort Ligonier Days is upon us! Whether you’re returning for another year or it’s your first time in town, these tips and tricks will give you a truly fantastic experience. Learn the history, Support local, and celebrate the town at Fort Ligonier Days 2019.
First things first: parking. As a local, we know the best way to park is by getting to town as early as possible. As you’d expect, spots in town fill up very quickly with 40,000+ people flooding into the valley. What you might not know is that members of our community will open up parking spots at their homes for a small fee. This is where we would recommend! If you take a loop around the backroads and venture down a side street, more likely than not, you’ll find a smiling face welcoming you to park on their property. Once your car is parked for the day, it’s time for the fun to begin. If you’ve traveled from out of town or are just starting your day, you’re probably looking for some good eats or a fresh brew to energize you for all the fun ahead. Abigail’s Coffeehouse features a full espresso bar, cider, and pastries for you to choose from. As a special member-partnership for Fort Days, Abigail’s will also be serving snails and doughnuts from The Original Pie Shoppe. Crumpets Tea Shop is another great choice for your morning fuel as they have a wide selection of hot and cold tea, coffee, and pastries galore. If it’s not too early for a glass of wine, Fort Ligonier kicks off each morning with a wide selection of food, crafts, and wine tastings around town (maps for these areas are linked) beginning at 10:00 AM. With these options, you’re able to switch up your morning food and coffee run each morning! If it’s Saturday morning, the community parade will begin in town at 11:00 AM. Non-experienced Fort Days visitors may say that the best spot to stand is around the diamond. However, expert locals know you’ll get the best view and most breathing room on east and west Main Street. If you’re not too interested in viewing the entire parade, you can catch glimpses as you take advantage of side-walk sales around the diamond or visit the many craft booths. Acorn Sign Works will be set up in the Municipal Craft lot at booth 23 with their handcrafted quality metal signs. The majority of visitors will be planted in their spots for the parade, so lines will be short! Sunday morning, the 5K run/walk begins at 8:30 AM at Ligonier Valley Highschool followed by a Kid’s CannonBall Dash at 9:30. There will also be an 18th-century church experience at the Fort at 10:00 AM. Take advantage of this unique divine service experience!
At noon on Friday morning, the Opening Ceremony will take place on the Diamond. Followed by a variety of musical performances to fill the town with song and cheer. You’ll hear sounds from acoustic, pop, rock n roll, and 80’s musicians and cover bands. This is a great time to take on the town and discover what Ligonier has to offer. Let’s talk sidewalk sales. If you’re not from town, this may be something that doesn’t come to mind at first. During Fort Days, local shops host clearance specials that are perfect to start your holiday shopping (It sounds early, we know. But you won’t want to miss these deals!). Earlier is better, sales begin at 9:00 AM and continue into the late afternoon. The Stationary Shop has it all for your greeting/holiday card, invitation, and gifting needs. Find the perfect handmade knit to keep your loved ones warm this fall/winter at Kathy’s Kreations. Have little ones to spoil? Mommy Gear has 10% off sports apparel and toys for your little ones to sport their favorite PA state NFL or college team. The Tree House will have 50% off select children’s clothing, so your little ones will be in style this season. My Honeybee will have their summer tees on sale and 30% off certain Ligonier merchandise. Betsy’s will have a side-walk sale all weekend long, having their stylish ladies clothing and accessories on clearance. Visit Song of Sixpence, a ladies boutique, for in-season, on-trend styles. Quality men’s and women’s shoes and apparel will be on sale at Ligonier’s oldest retail business, Martin’s Specialty Shop. They are featuring “new merchandise and old fashioned prices.” Post and Rail Men’s Shop has a great selection of professional men’s apparel, like polos, dress-shoes, and slacks. Vera Bradley fanatics will also want to pay this shop a visit because they have the newest styles in stock! You can find goodies for your furry friends at Paws on Main where clearance extends to select apparel for you and your pup, leashes, harnesses, and cat products, too.
O’Sheas Sweet Shop is well known in the valley for their decadent chocolate and sweet treats. Scamps Toffee specializes in delicious buttery warm toffee hand-dipped in milk, but they also have dark/white chocolates and sweets galore. Both will have their doors open for you to try their sweet treats. For seasonal and holiday decor, you’ve got to visit Holiday Home Store, they will feature many new items and collectibles for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving as well as close-outs and great bargains up to 50-70% off. In the holiday spirit? Stock up now on Christmas decor, glass ornaments, gift bags, and much more. Pay a visit to The Strawberry Crow for unique home decorations, candles, and knickknacks. The Finishing Touch truly will put a special touch on your gifts this year, find specialty items for each loved one on your list. Take a trip to the past when you visit Swansdowne Antiques and Gifts, their wide selection of collectibles and staple pieces could keep you busy for hours! As you can see, there’s something for everyone. If you’re over 21, Joe’s Bar offers an escape from the busy streets to relax with a drink. This isn’t your typical bar, so when you enter the door, don’t be surprised if you see a taxidermied elephant! There’s more where that came from, too. Sunday afternoon is all about history, so pencil in some time to check out what the Fort is offering. Locals and visitors alike will be awestruck by artillery demonstrations and reenactments of the 1758 Battle of Ligonier. One will take place at 1:00 PM followed by another, equally amazing, tribute at 3:00 PM. Encampment and living history demonstrations will be going on at the Fort throughout the day. Stop by to feel immersed in our area’s history and to visit the Fort Ligonier museum store!
Get artsy with the Allegory Gallery who will be stationed with a showcase of their own featuring rocks, minerals, and handmade jewelry. They have also partnered with a talented artist: Cheryl Ann Lipstreu of the hit TV show, Skin Wars. Cheryl Ann will be doing incredible face painting all weekend at Allegory Gallery. She also will be showcasing her new art show “Abundance”, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 PM on Friday only! The Diamond Theatre will be playing the movie, Joker, on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Sunday. If you’re looking for a nice break indoors, enjoy this film on their new laser projection system! Some time through the evening and into the night, stop by the Wicked Googly for some good food (locals love their Googly fries!) and good music. On Friday, from 5:30-9:00 PM, Brothers Kelly will perform followed by Shades of June from 10:00-1:30 AM. Saturday, following the parade, Skiero N Jingles will jam out until 9:00 and then One Over Eight will take the stage from 10:00-1:30 AM. Saturday night, Jay and The Americans will be performing while the Forces of Fort Ligonier Parade take the diamond by storm at 7:30 PM. Reanacters will march in period-clothing, taking you back in time to feel the history of Fort Ligonier. When the sun goes down, a firework extravaganza will light up the night. Locals would tell you that you’ll have a phenomenal view of the fireworks from the Ligonier Middle School, but you’ll see a great show from anywhere in town. The closing ceremony will take place at 5:00 PM on Sunday, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Before heading home for the weekend, grab a bite to eat. Just outside of town, you will find The Road Toad, Main Street Wine Bar, The Gray Goose Lounge, The Eastwood Inn, and more. We encourage you to call ahead about hours and reservations.
AFTER FORT DAYS
If you adored the small-town feel here in Ligonier and want to learn more about living in the Valley contact any one of our fabulous Realty Agencies! Also, hey homeowners: take advantage of Green Heat and Energy Solutions’ clearance event: $200 price reduction on a new outdoor furnace!
Now you’ve got the tools to approach Fort Days like a pro! If you learned something new, share this post with your family and friends to start planning the best Fort Ligonier Days yet.
Mark your calendars now for Fort Days 2020! October 9,10,11.
Written by Ashley Krause
Photo Credit: Laurel Highlands