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Festival highlights local heritage

Festival highlights local heritage

BY KAYLA PONGRAC

Our Town Correspondent

Members of Laurel Highlands Historical Village executive board wanted to create a festival that would celebrate Cambria County’s heritage. So, they approached the Cambria County Commissioners with this idea in mind: a fall festival at Duman Lake County Park in Ebensburg. 

The idea was a-go, said board treasurer Patti Defibaugh, and, last fall, the inaugural Cambria County Arts and Heritage Festival was held with more than 3,000 people.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to dusk Sept. 21 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 22. There is no admission fee. Festival-goers will be asked to make a nominal donation for parking. 

“This is a family friendly event that showcases Cambria County’s history, and it gives people a variety of entertainment options,” Defibaugh said. “Last year, people really enjoyed the Civil War re-enactors.” 

The Civil War re-enactors will be back this year, participating in both days of the festival. Attendees can watch re-enactments of Civil War battles and also visit their encampments. New this year, a Civil War-era church service is to take place at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. 

History will also be celebrated with the help of Barony of Saint Swithin’s Bog (a Society for Creative Anachronism, according to their website at stswithinsbog.org). They are to showcase what life was like in medieval times. 

“They are dedicated to the recreation of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,” Defibaugh said of Barony of Saint Swithin’s Bog. “They are going to be located in the field at the wedding pavilion all weekend.” 

The festival will commence Saturday at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony that will honor veterans. The event will feature guest speakers, Cambria Heights High School’s bagpipe section and Conemaugh Valley High School’s marching band. 

Festival highlights include Altoona Car Club’s antique car cruise-in on Saturday, as well as presentations by Stan Gordon, a well-known UFO and Bigfoot researcher. Gordon will be joined at the festival by Patty Wilson (who has an interest in history and hauntings) and Dave Samuhel of AccuWeather (stargazing and astronomical phenomena). 

More than 60 vendors will be on the grounds. Non-profit vendors, local fire companies, Pennsylvania State Police and other organizations are also participating. Representatives from Galliker's Dairy are to bring their antique ice cream wagon and offer free samples to passersby. Laurel Highlands Historical Village will host a basket raffle and games of chance under their tent. 

Live music is to be provided by That Oldies Band, Full Kilt, Dead Irish Blues and Dan Stonerook and the Wounded Moose. 

Children’s activities include hay, train and pony rides. Festival-goers are invited to bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets to the festival, as well as non-perishable foods and paper goods. All donations received at the gate are to be distributed to shut-in veterans residing in Cambria County. 

Organizers welcome and encourage attendees to dress in historical outfits. 

Defibaugh said she and her fellow organizers are looking forward to welcoming people to Duman Lake County Park — a park she described as “a hidden gem in rural Cambria County.”

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