Festivals and Events
A great source of enjoyment in the Laurel Highlands is the many festivals and events that take place throughout the region during all parts of the year. The eents listed here take place on an annual basis; we’ve provided links to Web sites that will give you details about specific dates and directions to the events. We try to list annual festivals that are particularly interesting. If you have a favorite that’s not listed, please let us know by clicking here.
The Fire and Ice festival takes place in Somerset in January, when ice sculptures that are placed all around downtown can last quite a while. Other parts of the festival are a train display, a 5k race, contests, food and fun.
The Pennsylvania Maple Festival highlights Pennsylvania’s production of maple syrup. Of course, maple syrup is well celebrated with pancakes and sausage! It all starts at Festival Park, where you’ll discover the way country life was at the turn of the century. This complex is the heart of the Festival and is located on scenic Meyers Avenue. It features the Historic Meyers Homestead, an Antique Doctor’s Office, The Cobbler’s Shop, The Country Store, a Civil War Encampment by the 142nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and of course, our own sugar camp. The greatest fun, though, is seeing this tiny town go all out to welcome the flood of visitors that come to their tiny town at this time of year. Their hospitality is gracious, engaging, and even infectious. It’s just a great time.
Learn how to tap a tree, boil sap into syrup, make sugar cakes, twirl spotza and sugar off. you’ll want to take home many maple products to satisfy your sweet tooth! While you’re at Festival Park, browse the many craft vendors and enjoy live entertainment on the outside stage. Some of the crafts that will be at the festival are woodworking, crocheting, ceramics, quilling, tole painting, chair caning, leather crafts, wheat weaving, spinning, tatting, broom making, baskets, keelers, oil paintings, herbs, spices, teas, dried flowers, candy making, pottery and dolls. Be sure that you don’t miss the Lions pancake and sausage feast, that’s always a big draw at the Festival. There is also plenty of food and fun throughout the park. Be sure to bring home some great Pennsylvania maple syrup! Maple Festival
Starting May, the Ligonier Country Market is open on Saturday mornings. Ligonier Country Market is Western Pennsylvania’s oldest and largest Farmer’s Market boasting 100 vendors equally divided between fresh produce, baked goods, ethnic foods and craft artisans. Special features every week including entertainment, community groups and book signings. You can get fresh berries from Sand Hill Berries, fresh local sausage, Pennsylvania maple syrup and all sorts of local products. The prices are excellent and the quality is truly terrific. It’s a great drive for Saturday morning. And you can go right by Stone Villa Winery and stop by and try their wines and select one to complement the food you’ve bought at the market.
In downtown Somerset, come to Georgian Place and enjoy an outdoor antique show. There are more than thirty antique dealers sharing a shop at Georgian Place; this is the time see them all at their best. Spring Antique Show
More than fifty different chainsaw and chip carvers from all over the world–as far away as Japan–participate in the Confluence National Road Chainsaw Carving Festival. You can watch works being created, and shop a great variety of fine work for your own purchase. Chainsaw Carving Festival
On the second Saturday of August, rain or shine, more than 100 dealers line the streets and parking lots of Somerset with antiques and collectibles. It is sponsored by the Somerset County Chamber of Somerset.
On Labor Day Weekend, come to the Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts Colonial Festival.This is rated one of the top craft fairs in the US. It also features many events such as crafts demonstrations and colonial reenactment encampments. But the big draw is the huge number of crafters who come: more than 500, representing the full range of arts and crafts. It’s just up the Turnpike from Hidden Valley in the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds in Greensburg. There is lots here for children, with activities such as face painting, all sorts of great foods and things to see and watch.
Somerset County’s agricultural economy is highlighted at this traditional rural county fair with livestock, produce and craft displays by Grange, 4-H, FFA and other organizations. Midway and grandstand entertainment features are always popular with visitors.
The Farmer’s and Threshermen’s Jubilee is in New Centerville. Events include Antique Farm machinery and Stem Engines, crafts, quilt show, Truck, Tractor, ATV and Horse Pull. Lots of good foods, home of the famous “Out House Dash”. Farmer’s and Threshermen’s
More than 100 crafts people demonstrate pioneer skills during Mountain Craft Days which attracts thousands of visitors from far and wide every year. Held on the grounds of the Somerset Historical Center, this festival brings history to life through demonstrations ranging from stone cutting and rail splitting to pottery making and weaving. Early American foods add to the flavor of the event. Mountain Craft Days
At the Springs Folk Festival, join the celebration of the arts, skills and labors of our forefathers. Watch the women baking bread and weaving, the men hewing logs and threshing grain and the children enjoying themselves on an old-time hayride. The lilting notes of blue grass groups, gospel music and children singing a capella fill the air with continuous performances in an enclosed program building. Springs Folks Festival.
A regional highlight is the delightful town of Ligonier, where you’ll find a very active craft community year ’round. But Lignonier reall goes all the way in October of each year, while all the foliage is beauiful, for Fort Ligonier Days. A highlight of the event is the reenactment of the Battle of Fort Ligonier, a key battle in the French and Indian Wars. There are camps of reenactors in town for you to visit, as well as watching the reenaction itself. But that’s not all–the whole town is alive with booths offering crafts and all sorts of foods. There is also lots of free outdoor entertainment. The whole thing ends with a parade downtown on the final day. Don’t be concerned about finding a place to park–the good people of Ligonier have long since learned how to deal with the problem, and you’ll find things very well organized. Fort Ligonier Days
A great way to get to Pumpkin Fest in Confluence is to drive to Ohiopyle and ride your bicycle or a rented bike on the ten-mile trail to Confluence. This festival gives arts & crafts and food vendors the opportunity to show and sell their goods in the town park. It also features many interesting and exciting events. Among those are the Pumpkinfest Queen Pageant, a 5K run/walk, an antique and classic auto show, a parade and a largest pumpkin contest. Other events include a recipe contest, tough man fire truck pull, dances, live music, disc jockeys and more. Don’t miss the bed races, where each team puts a bed on wheels and races to push it around the town square. Every year Pumpkin Fest has great souvenir shirts. Pumpkin Fest
At Westmoreland Fairgounds in Greensburg, every December around the holiday season you can drive through light displays and walk through the Christmas Village. You can enjoy a giant bonfire, outdoor eateries, a gift shop, wagon and sleigh rides, a life-size nativity scene and a G-guage model train layout. The proceeds benefit local families at risk. Christmas Lights