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.
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!
Historical Street Theatre
Saturday Only in Front of Community Pavilion
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!
The Bradford House Museum Tours
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & 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 the first floor to see docents dressed in period attire. (Free full self guided house tours will be offered on Thursday and Friday from 3:00 – 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.
The Hangman's Noose Tavern - Located In Washington Park
Saturday & Sunday
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.
The LeMoyne House Tours - Washington County Historical Society
Located at 49 E Maiden St. - Saturday Only
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.
Visit Schneider's Fort in Washington Park
Saturday & 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.
- 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
Washington County Courthouse Tours
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.
City of Washington Architectural Walking Tours
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.
Presidential Walking Tours
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.
History & Heritage Fair
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.
Saturday only 10:30AM to 5:00PM at the Community Pavilion.
Historical Church Service Re-enactment
Sunday Only from 10:30AM to 1:30PM
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.