Summer Events Provide Two and Half Centuries of American Inspiration
Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131
Western PA is the home to five National Parks that showcase the history of the region and beauty of the outdoors. If you're planning a "Staycation" check out the five National Parks right here in our own backyard; Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site and Johnstown Flood National Memorial. The sites have new offerings and events for family and friends of all ages and interests. Visiting the Western PA National Parks, you will encounter inspiring stories of native people, immigrants, first citizens and founders, and heroes of our nation.
In addition to daily programs the park service offers from June through August, over 50 special events are planned in western Pennsylvania's five National Parks sites. Whether by hiking the trace of one of America's early engineering triumphs, by quiet contemplation of tragedy highlighted by luminaries for lives lost, to taking in an summer's evening VFW Band concert on a patriots lawn, talking tactics with soldiers and warriors from the French and Indian War, or honoring the heroes of Flight 93 near Shanksville there are endless opportunities for learning and recreation in western Pennsylvania's National Parks.
Five special events you won't want to miss include:
On Friday May 31 the National Park Service will commemorate the 124th Anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889, from 9:00 am through 10:00 pm. All park facilities will be open and admission is free. Come meet the main players in the Park story as costumed interpreters greet visitors at the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Clubhouse. Visitors can view the award winning film, "Black Friday," at the Visitor Center near the remains of the Dam. At the end of the day the public is invited to join park volunteers as we honor the memories of those who perished in the Flood, with the lighting of 2, 209 candles from 7:30-10:00.
On June 29, Allegheny Portage Railroad will conduct "Living History Day", and present an "Evening on the Summit." Learn about life and work from the days of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The National Park Service presents this special day of demonstrations and programs to show skills and daily activities of the 1830s and 1840s. Events will last from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will include stonecutting, rope making, log hewing, spinning & weaving, clothes washing, cooking, historic weapons demonstrations, a recreated workers encampment, and children's games & activities.
On July 20 and 21, Fort Necessity, will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Pontiac's Rebellion. Visit Fort Necessity, and learn about Pontiacs Rebellion. Visitors will tour an encampment of Warriors and British Soldiers in the Great Meadows and watch historic weapons demonstrations. Pontiac's Rebellion tells the story of Chief Pontiac, a powerful and respected leader of the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi who led a rebellion of many tribes against the British and the colonists. Many of the American Indian Nations , primarily from the Great Lakes region, had close trading relationships with France and were appalled to find that at the end of the French and Indian War their lands were now under the control of the British. Pontiac's Rebellion was an attempt by an alliance of American Indian Nations to prevent Great Britain from occupying the land previously claimed by France.
In September, Flight 93 National Memorial will conduct the 12th commemoration of the tragic events of September 11, 2011. This year the event will be held on Wednesday, September 11 at 9:30 am. This outdoor event is open to the public and traditionally includes reading the names of the passengers and crew on Flight 93 while the "Bells of Remembrance" are tolled. On the evening of September 10 at sundown, the Friends of Flight 93 will sponsor a display of luminaries at the Wall of Names, lighting the forty names until a special late closing at 9:00 pm. Other programming will take place on the weekends before and after September 11.
For a great fall weekend on September 21 and 22, plan to attend FestiFall & Market Fair at Friendship Hill NHS. This event is co-sponsored with the Friendship Hill Association and celebrates the life and times of Albert Gallatin, the original owner of Friendship Hill. This free event includes demonstrations of historic trades and crafts and live period music, providing the perfect ambiance for a peaceful afternoon of good food and family fun. While children explore historic toys, the family can enjoy eighteenth century foods that have been the staple of FestiFall since its inception in 1988.
In addition to the individual park events National Park Service celebrates its 97th birthday on Sunday August 25. To commemorate this special day all entrance fees will be waived at National Parks nationwide. Celebrate by visiting the five Parks in Western PA. For updated information and times of events visit www.nps.gov/flni.
About the National Parks in Western PA: To obtain driving directions, fee information and obtain a listing of the special events presented at the five National Parks located in Western PA visit the park websites, or Facebook. You may also email the park, or write to Superintendent, Fort Necessity NB, One Washington Parkway, Farmington PA 15437 Attn: Special Events Calendar.
Did You Know?
After the battle at Fort Necessity, hostage Captain Stobo was held by the French at Fort Duquesne. Given some freedom, he drew a map of the fort and had an Indian smuggle it to the British. The map was captured by the French and Stobo tried for treason. He was found guilty but managed to escape.