Summer time is officially here, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited until the last minute to make any fun summer plans. Thankfully, there are still tons of activities right here in Westmoreland County for you to check out this summer. If you still haven’t picked the right vacation destination just yet, or if you’re just trying to find plans for your weekend off, consider checking out some of these places and events.
10. Bushy Run Battlefield
The site of Pontiac’s War in 1763, Bushy Run Battlefield is a 213-acre historical site located near Harrison City. The battlefield marks the site of an attack on British soldiers by Native American forces after the conclusion of the French and Indian War.
This summer, Bushy Run Battlefield will be hosting a “History Speaks” program on June 19 entitled, “The Jacobites: History and Culture,” presented by Thompson Highlanders, covering life and cultural aspects of early Western Pennsylvania. The Bushy Run Market will also take place on the fourth Saturday of every month from 8:00 a.m. to noon, hosting a variety of vendors and food items. For young history buffs, Living History Day Camp takes place on July 8 – 10, where kids can learn to play colonial games, make crafts, meet war re-enactors, and learn about the history behind the battle. Most significantly, the 256th anniversary of the Battle of Bushy Run will take place on August 3 – 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and features historical demonstrations by re-enactors.
If your definition of horsepower doesn’t include 18th century cavalry units, you should know that the 9th Annual Classic Car Cruise will take place on Saturday, July 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., showcasing classic and custom vehicles.
9. Westmoreland Fair
Beginning in 1954, the Westmoreland Fair was first held at Idlewild Park by a small group of local farmers with a passion for all things agriculture. Since then, the fair has grown to become one of the most popular events in Westmoreland County, spanning over 170 acres of land containing its own dedicated buildings and grandstands. This year, the fair will take place from Friday, August 16 to Saturday, August 24. There will be plenty of other activities hosted on the Westmoreland Fairgrounds property as well, including a demolition derby on June 22, the always-magical Lantern Festival on June 29 and 30, and several different 4-H horse and livestock shows throughout the summer.
8. Theatre Shows
Perhaps you already knew about the Palace Theatre in Greensburg and their TGIS Free Concert series, where concert goers can enjoy free live music and food every Thursday evening from May 30 to September 5, but have you heard of some of the other theatres in the area? The Mountain Playhouse, located Jennerstown, was built in 1805 as a gristmill and was moved to its present location in 1939. Today, it is Pennsylvania’s oldest professional stock theatre, and provides a variety of different shows and musicals, with a new show every two to three weeks. You can catch performances of The Irish and How They Got That Way in June, Don’t Dress for Dinner and Things My Mother Taught Me in July, and Mid-Life2! #WhatDidIComeInHereFor? In August. If you want to stick around Latrobe, the Saint Vincent College Summer Theatre will also be hosting two different shows for its 51st season: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on June 27 – July 7, and Always…Patsy Cline on August 1 – 11.
7. Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival
Make plans to visit Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg from July 4 – 7 for this festival, where you are sure to find something that excites your interests. Over 125,000 people are drawn to the festival’s artist markets, performing arts spectacles, ethnic food, blacksmithing, quilt making, and other activities. Take a look at over 200 booths at the Artist Market, where you can see and purchase jewelry, metal art, stained glass, and more from local artists. You’re also likely to find something good to eat from the Italian, Polish, Greek, Vietnamese, and Lebanese vendors throughout the park.
6. Latrobe 4th of July Celebration
Entering its 50th year in 2019, Latrobe’s annual Fourth of July Celebration has a host of events leading up to the parade at 10:30 a.m. on Independence Day. The Miss 4th of July Pageant will be held at Latrobe Senior High School on Sunday, June 16, the Big Wheels Race on Tuesday, June 18 and the Five-Mile Run and Two-Mile Walk on June 28 at the Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Enjoy live music from the Joe Poremba Tribute Band, Buddy Mac Band, Woods Family Band and many others, who will be performing at the Band Shell in Legion Keener Park during the days leading up to the celebration.
5. Fort Ligonier
Fort Ligonier invites you to “siege the day” during any number of their summer activities. Children who have completed grades K – 6 are invited to learn about 18th century history at either of the Fort Kids Camps in June or July by making crafts and playing colonial-themed games. Enjoy free admission and explosions during the Friendly Fire Friday for Free days on July 5 and August 2, where you can watch an 18th century cannon go off at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. on each of those days, weather permitting. See historical figures come to life during the Night at the Fort Museum event on July 12 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. or take a private guided Sunset Tour on June 14 or July 19 for a unique way to experience the fort. To cap off your summer, stop by the fort for History Happy Hour, where you can feast on grilled pizzas and see live history demonstrations on August 23.
4. Keystone Raceway
Also known as the Pittsburgh Raceway, Keystone Raceway has been hosting drag races of all kinds since 1968. Spectators are invited to watch any of the Test ‘n Tune days and regular races that are listed on the website’s schedule. In addition, be sure to show up for special race events like the 12th Annual Good Vibrations Funny Car Nationals and the Night of Fire. Don’t forget your ear protection!
Designed by the architectural wizard Frank Lloyd Wright, this unique residence was once owned by Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann during the 1930s. Today, it has been transformed into a museum that celebrates the harmony of humans and nature. Situated above Bear Run, this one of a kind mid-century modern house is now open to the public, attracting tens of thousands of people every year. Make sure to bring your walking shoes if you plan on climbing the house’s many steps!
2. Steelers Training Camp
The Pittsburgh Steelers will once again be returning to Saint Vincent College for this year’s Steelers Training Camp. Admission to Steelers Training Camp is free, open to the public and supplemented by activities for all ages. The Play 60 Fun Zone is an activity area geared exclusively for kids, with an obstacle course and other fun games for younger fans to enjoy. Players will move in to Saint Vincent College on July 25 and will practice on scheduled dates until August 15, after which they can be seen playing against Kansas City at Heinz Field on August 17 for their second pre-season game of the year.
In addition, Steelers Fest at Latrobe will take place on August 2 before the scheduled Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Enjoy Steelers-themed games and vendors, along with a performance by the Steel Drumline. Tickets will be sold at Latrobe Parks and Recreation and the Latrobe Newsstand.
1. The Great American Banana Split Celebration
Did you know that the banana split was invented in a small Latrobe pharmacy? In 1904, David Strickler, a pharmacist’s apprentice, created a new ice cream treat by splitting a banana lengthwise and adding three scoops of ice cream. Strickler’s new dessert was a smash-hit with the nearby students of Saint Vincent College, who helped turn the banana split into a worldwide phenomenon. This year, the Great American Banana Split Celebration will be celebrating the 115th anniversary of Strickler’s creation with a fun-filled weekend of activities. Enjoy a multitude of food trucks, vendors, live music, crafts and activities for all ages from August 23rd – 25th, right in the heart of downtown Latrobe. If you’re hungry enough, try your luck at the pie eating contest for a chance to win the esteemed champion belt. Oppositely, if you’re feeling guilty about consuming multiple banana splits in one day, you can register for the 5K Banana Run on the event’s website.