Great Fort Ligonier Days entertainment set,

headlined by ‘Jay and The Americans’

Everything is about set to go for the 60th annual Fort Ligonier Days celebration, Oct. 11-13, and organizers have planned some special entertainment for the Diamond Anniversary edition. Jay and The Americans, one of the top vocal rock groups of the 1960s, will perform the Saturday night band concert on the Smail Automotove Stage, just off the Diamond, from 6:30 to 8:45 PM. Jay and The Americans got their start in a Brooklyn basement over 50 years ago, and three of the original band members continue to perform today – Sandy Yaguda (aka Deanne), Howard Kirschenbaum (aka Kane), and Marty Kupersmith (aka Sanders). They are joined by Jay Reincke – the third and perhaps the best “Jay” yet. Together they recreate the sound of their greatest hits, from their first recording, “Tonight” (from the musical West Side Story) in 1961 to “There Goes My Baby” a decade later. During that span Jay & The Americans had a dozen top 10 hits, starting with “She Cried,” followed by “Only in America,” “Come A Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and “This Magic Moment” – all on the United Artists label. When The Beatles toured the USA in 1964, Jay & The Americans opened for them. They also toured with The Rolling Stones. More hits followed including “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Crying” (a tribute to Roy Orbison, with whom the band also toured) and a remake of The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby.” Sandy Podlucky, who has chaired the Fort Ligonier Days entertainment committee for more than 40 years, said she was thrilled to book a band that was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002, placing them among the greatest vocal groups in Rock ‘n Roll history. She also urged visitors to stick around Friday evening to hear Graves Bloodline – a unique blend of bluegrass, rock and spiritual music – from 5:30 to 7 PM on the Bandstand. Bryan Graves, son of renowned bluegrass and country hall of famer “Uncle Josh Graves,” performs with his cousin Tim Graves to pay homage to Uncle Josh with their love and passion for bluegrass, country music and Americana. Nashville’s first “NewGrass” group performs songs by Flatts and Scruggs, The Foggy Mountain Boys, Jimmy Rodgers, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kris Kristofferson, Dr. Hook and Marty Stuart among others. Fort Ligonier Days features almost non-stop entertainment on the Diamond and all three afternoons at the Wine Tasting Area on West Main Street. Jeff Jimerson & Airborne will be returning to the Diamond Saturday afternoon. Jimerson is well known as the singer of  the National Anthem at Pittsburgh Penguins games. Pendulum, a Creedence Clearwater Revival band, will perform Sunday afternoon, followed by a real brass band  – the Pittsburgh Brass Project. Don Lachie has been helping the entertainment run smoothly for the past 25 years, noted the chairman. See the Fort Ligonier Days program or visit for a complete listing of entertainment and all other Fort Ligonier Days activities. At a recent wrap-up meeting of the Fort Ligonier Days Committee, all the chairmen reported everything is ready to go for the Diamond Anniversary celebration. “To me it’s the best festival in America,” said chairman Jack McDowell. “It’s an amazing event.” “The parade will be as good as ever,” promised Tom Stablein, parade chairman. “We have 10 high school bands, 20 bands in all, including the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band. There will be seven or eight floats. It will all come together.” The big parade steps off at 11 AM Saturday. Reminder: please do not set up chairs along the parade route before 6 PM Friday. Over 200 crafts booths and food booths are signed up for the three-day festival, which kicks off at 9 AM Friday, Oct. 11, with the official opening scheduled for noon on the Diamond. The annual 5K Run/Walk is all arranged for an 8:30 AM start on Sunday morning, with a Kids Cannonball Dash starting at 9:30 AM at Ligonier Valley High School on Springer Road. The 5K, expected to attract several hundred runners and walkers, will traverse Main Street in both directions. Battle re-enactments and artillery demonstrations will take place at Fort Ligonier Saturday and Sunday afternoons, recalling the battle that took place there on Oct. 12, 1758. Student representatives who help with the event as volunteers said they are “very excited to take part and see how things work out for the 60th Anniversary festival.” With large crowds expected, the Fort Ligonier Days Committee pays particular attention to arranging for parking, shuttle buses, and public safety. No backpacks and no pets are allowed in the festival area. Free shuttle bus service connects all the crafts areas.