Historic Activities

Historic Activities are Downtown and at the Fort Site in Washington Park Saturday & Sunday

Events and times vary on Saturday and Sunday, so please check the festival's schedule.

Downtown Sunday Activities include the Historical Church Service Re-enactment, Music, Food & Craft Vendors, and Bradford House Museum Tours.

The festival's history and heritage activities are supported through sponsorships and grants from
Dr. E. Ronald Salvitti, M.D.

Join the Rebellion and experience life on the Pennsylvania frontier during the time of the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794). History comes alive through re-enactments, demonstrations, exhibits, historic house tours and lively street theater throughout the day on Saturday. These activities are vividly portrayed throughout the festival grounds at the David Bradford House, the LeMoyne House and LeMoyne House gardens, the Main Festival stage, Frontier Fort site at Washington Park, and on Main Street itself. Take in a broader view of historic downtown Washington, with tours of the Washington County Courthouse, and a Presidential Walking Tour of sites where 15 U.S. Presidents actually visited “Little Washington”. Relive the days of the rebellion, as the fiery speeches of the rebels and the fiery response of the Federals bring the historic street theater to a dramatic conclusion you won’t want to miss!

The Festival Community Parade

Saturday 10:30AM
Sponsored by Community Bank and the Washington Business District Authority

Nothing is more American than a parade and every year the Whiskey Rebellion Festival Community Parade is the kickoff to our grand celebration on Saturday. Join the 1000’s of spectators along Main Street on Saturday morning for this American tradition. Celebrate with us as we recognize the role our community played some 225 years ago during the Whiskey Rebellion, a milestone event that helped shape American history. The annual Community Parade features military organizations, first responders, local dignitaries, historical re-enactors, community groups, marching bands, fire and police vehicles, local businesses, floats and much more.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

Historical Street Theatre

The Community Pavilion, Saturday Only
Sponsored by National Road Heritage Corridor

Each year, we bring to the streets of Washington historical re-enactments from the years 1791-1794. While the scenes depicted are not of actual historical events they are representative of the sequence of events and, more importantly, the strong sentiments of the time.

Every year we stage entirely new theatrical performances, so you’ll see something new every time you attend the festival as well as The Annual Tar & Feathering, always around 5 pm. The main characters you see on the streets are portraying actual historical figures. They will be on festival grounds throughout the day. Should you encounter them, please feel free to talk with them and ask questions. Enjoy!

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

History & Heritage Fair

The Community Pavilion, Saturday Only, 10:30AM-5:00PM
Sponsored by Range Resources

Visit with and explore exhibits from the region’s top history and heritage tourism sites and educational organizations all under one roof including, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation, Duncan & Miller Glass Museum, National Road Heritage Corridor, Bushy Run Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Genealogical Society of SWPa, Greene County Historical Society, McKeever Study & Library, West Overton Village, Washington County Historical Society, Oliver Miller Homestead and many of the region’s historical societies and other historical organizations.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

The Bradford House Museum Tours

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Tour the Bradford House Museum, a National Historic Landmark, home of the Whiskey Rebellion. David Bradford was a successful lawyer, businessman, the Deputy Attorney General of Washington County and a leader of the Whiskey Rebellion. Construction of his house on South Main Street was completed in 1788. His home reflected his high social standing, not only by its size, but also by its fittings. The magnificent mahogany staircase and the interior wood finishes show remarkable craftsmanship. The stone for the exterior was quarried near Washington, while the interior decorations came from the east and had to be transported across the mountains at great expense. It was, and still is, an 18th-century architectural showpiece. This was all the more striking at the time because Washington consisted largely of small, rustic log buildings.

After the parade and before the tar and feathering at 5:00PM step back in time and enjoy a walk through tour of the first floor you will see docents dressed in period attire. (Free self-guided house tours will be offered on Thursday and Friday from 11:00AM until 6:00PM and Sunday noon to 3:00PM.)

On Saturday, see a cooking demonstration in the kitchen cabin, using open hearth cooking techniques. Behind the Bradford House join our farmer-distiller and see how whiskey was made during the Whiskey Rebellion. Get a close-up view of an actual antique still similar to the ones used on the frontier, talk with the farmer and learn how they turned grain into whiskey. However be careful not to ask about Hamilton’s Whiskey Tax.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

Pioneer Room Activities

The George Washington Hotel, Saturday 12:00-4:00PM and Sunday at 2:00PM
Sponsored by Dr. E. Ronald Salvitti, M.D., the Washington County Bar Association, and the George Washington Hotel

Festival visitors who stop into the Pioneer Room will not only enjoy heritage music throughout the day but they will see and experience the historic 150 foot murals painted in 1935 by the famous Washington artists Malcolm Parcell (1896-1987) titled The National Road and the Whiskey Rebellion. Additionally works by local artists Connie Clutter and Andy Knez Jr. will be featured, both artists work focus on the history of the frontier.

On Sunday, at 2:00PM, the Pioneer Room will host a reading of the Play The Trial of David Bradford. David Bradford got away, we all know that.  Among the most prominent (or notorious) leaders of the insurrection known as the Whiskey Rebellion, Bradford avoided arrest and headed south to New Orleans.  But what if he had been captured and brought to trial?  This is the tantalizing “what if” at the heart of this new play by award-winning playwright, William Cameron.  “The Trial of David Bradford” will receive its first public performance in a staged reading as part of this year’s Whiskey Rebellion Festival.  Come be a part of history!

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

The LeMoyne House Tours, Saturday Only 11:00AM-4:00PM

Washington Historical Society, 49 E Maiden Street, Saturday Only, 11:00AM-4:00PM

The LeMoyne House is Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark of the Underground Railroad. Only a few other such sites exist. The stately stone house, located at 49 East Maiden Street in downtown Washington, Pennsylvania, was built in 1812 by John Julius LeMoyne, the father of Francis Julius LeMoyne. Both father and son were practicing physicians, but it was the courageous Francis Julius LeMoyne who, despite the strict Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, risked his personal freedom and fortune to do what he knew was morally right — take a stand against the institution of slavery. This successful 19th Century doctor, reformer and builder of the first crematory in the western hemisphere, opened his home and properties as stops along the Underground Railroad, the series of safe hiding places for runaway slaves as they trudged north on their precarious journey to Canada and freedom.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

Visit Schneider's Fort in Washington Park

Saturday and Sunday, Activities May Vary Each Day

Fort Site Activities – 11AM – 5PM, Each Day

This faithful reproduction of a typical frontier fort was built by the Washington County Historical Society. Travel into the past and see the 18th-century come to life. Visit the tavern, trading post, native village, and federal encampment. See cooking demos and distilling displays. Learn about 18th-century weapons, experience cannon, and musket demonstrations.

Activities Include:

  • Visiting with crafters and demonstrators
  • Experience the Allegheny Valley Uprising, a battle re-enactment portraying the Federal Armies attempt at raising a liberty pole against the Whiskey Rebels.
  • Pony rides, Petting Zoo, Children’s Muster
  • Drilling Demonstrations, 18th-century Weapon Display, talks concerning 18th-century weapons will occur throughout the day
  • Woodworking/Shaving Horse Demonstrations, Flint-knapping Demonstrations, Blacksmithing Demonstrations
  • Talks on Native American Encampment, Native Americans in the Pennsylvania Frontier, Federal Army Encampment, the 18th-century Trading Post, and Tin Man Roy throughout the day
  • Visit The Hangman’s Noose Tavern, located at the Kennedy Log House. See 18th-century Tavern Display, Sample Traditional 18th-century Drinks, enjoy Tavern Talk Presentations throughout the Day, Witness Campfire and Earthen Oven Cooking Demonstrations
Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times
SchneidersFort_1.2

The Hangman's Noose Tavern

Washington Park, Saturday and Sunday, 11:00AM-4:00PM

The Kennedy Log House in Washington Park is transformed into the Hangman’s Noose Tavern, Van Swearigen Proprietor, on Saturday and Sunday from 11AM – 4PM. Come sample 18th-century tavern drinks such as Spiced Whiskey and the Hangman’s Punch (with non-alcoholic versions for kids). See fireside cooking demonstrations using squirrel forks and reflector ovens.  View and buy the fares of artisans such as The Wilde Celt Forge, Old Plank Forge, Hearth Fare Goods, and the Red Lady Bakery. Stay and hear the story of the how the Hangman’s Noose got its name.  Experience a tavern with all the flare of the 18th-century.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

Washington County Courthouse Tours

Saturday Only
Sponsored by the Washington County Bar Association
Tours start at the Main Entrance.

Built in 1898 by the famous architect Frederick J. Osterling the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In this landmark, with its glorious marble staircase, stained glass dome, and richly paneled courtrooms the citizens cannot help taking pride in their heritage and our system of government.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

City of Washington Architectural Walking Tour

Saturday Only, 2:00PM
Sponsored by Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation
Tours start at the Whiskey Rebellion Statue on Main Street.

Narrated walking tours along Main Street of historic Washington City, with focus on c.1800-1900s buildings. Details of architectural elements and history of structural use over time, including buildings that no longer remain. Conducted by Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation.

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Presidential Walking Tour

Saturday Only, 1:00PM
Sponsored by Washington & Jefferson College
Tours start at the Whiskey Rebellion Statue on Main Street.

This tour will take you to a variety of sites where American Presidents have spoken, stayed, or visited when they have come to Washington, PA – residents sometimes call it “Little Washington.”

So why did fifteen Presidents come here? For many, it was the fact that the National Road, the primary artery from east to west in the 19th century, came through Washington. Others visited because they had family or friends in the country; some were campaigning. And one President came to Washington because of a woman named Elizabeth Stockdale. You will learn more about their stories during this hour-long walking tour.

Tours start at the Whiskey Rebels statue on Main Street. Guides provided by Washington & Jefferson College.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

The National Road Walking Tour

Saturday Only, 3:00PM
Sponsored by National Road Heritage Corridor
Tours start at the Whiskey Rebellion Statue on Main Street.

There are few things in history that call to us across time from the beginnings of our nation. The Historic National Road, this Nation’s first federally funded highway is one of them. For more than 600 miles and crossing 6 states (Cumberland, MD to Vandalia, IL), it is a landscape of historic, cultural and archeological significance, scenic beauty and bountiful recreation, and a journey through the lives, fortunes and struggles of the people who forged America.

Cutting across the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, the 90 miles of the Historic National Road in PA is the site of arguably the most important revolutionary events in U.S. history. As the birthplace of the French & Indian War – the conflict that ignited America’s fight for independence; the Whiskey Rebellion, where the federal authority of the United States was first tested; and the site where the U.S. Constitution faces its first challenge, the National Road is America’s Road to Revolution.

The 90-mile corridor in Pennsylvania, has not only hosted America’s most important political revolutions, but has been the stage for many of the country’s most influential social, industrial and cultural revolutions as well.

Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule with Show Times

Historical Church Service Re-enactment

Sunday Only, 10:30AM-12:30PM

Afternoon Choir Concert and Family Activities

Sunday Only, 12:45-3:30PM
Sponsored by Lighthouse Electric

The Rebellion has taken its toll on the people of this county and the Church now must search for the way to restore the unity in the Spirit. The county was birthed in the midst of revival and experienced several years of tranquility that was interrupted by this Whiskey Rebellion. Where to begin?

Elisha McCurdy, a young pastor/evangelist to this Western Frontier, took it upon himself to begin to meet and pray for the return to peace in this land. This division must end and families must be reunited and move forward in this newly found nation.

Come and hear the rich Religious History of Washington County as a team of re-enactors revive this lost history and bring it back to life in the very place where all was unfolded some 230 years ago. Meet Rev. Joseph Smith and his wife, also Elisha McCurdy, Matthew Henderson, and many more. Men, women, and children will come back from time to enlighten the current generations as to the richest blessings of God that were bestowed on this great County of Washington.

You won’t want to miss this event. You will walk away with a new and glorious perspective as seen through the very eyes of God on this land that has experienced the Presence of God time and again.

Immediately after the church service we will take a short break to allow the folks a chance to visit the food and craft vendors. At approximately 12:45pm, the afternoon the music portion will begin and last until 3:30pm.  It will be composed of various church choirs and music ministries.  This will be an expression of the wonderful traditions and styles that our region is so blessed with. Come and enjoy this great expression of talent and flavor. everything from traditional hymns, spirituals, southern gospel and contemporary. To top it off we will have a special performance by a children’s choir composed of youth from our county.

New this year we will have Sunday activities for the kids, including games, face painting, puppets, and more. If you enjoy good music, good fellowship good food, and a lot of fun you won’t want to miss this event.

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