Penn's Colony Festival Features New Artists and Attractions To Commemorate the Historic French and Indian War

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On September 19-20 and 26-27, Penn's Colony Festival will feature new artists and musical entertainment reminiscent of the historic time period of the French and Indian War. 18th Century Medicine Show to Spies of American Revolution Educates and Entertains-- (Please note revised hours)

On September 19-20 and 26-27, Penn's Colony Festival will feature new artists and musical entertainment reminiscent of the historic time period of the French and Indian War. Held in Saxonburg, Butler County, the annual festival brings together living history, heritage, cultural traditions and educational family fun for the entire family.

This year's Festival highlights include:

  •     Molly in the Crowd - a six member band entertains with lyrical and bawdy songs of the 18th century from colonial America across the pond to England, Ireland and Scotland.
  •     Fife & Drum Corps (19th and 20th)
  •     Celtic Eagle Pipes and Drums (26th)
  •     An all- new Show from Drs. Murray and Keane as they return to peddle their Cure-All Elixer in between comic medley of diversions including a strong man's act, an act from a popular play, a mind reading act, and much more.
  •     A trial portraying the legal practices of the 1750s and the trials that would have been held in the special courts that were set up specifically for the Publick Tymes. (in England these were called the Court of Pie Powder - probably for their frivolous accusations). This will include some audience participation.

o    The trial will be set up at the Kuskusky stage. Some of the crimes to be tried will be stealing milk from a cow, was sold a "pig in a poke" but got home and it was a "cat out of the bag"
o    FYI "esquire" is typically listed after attorney's names today. In the 18th c. it was the title of a "pirateer"

Learn how to play these instruments:

    Keyless Flute - handmade and taught by Charles Anderson (Pittsburgh) portraying a French Voyageur who will play the songs of the era
    Penny Whistle - Handmade and taught by the Plaid Piper Rob Taggert of West Virginia
    Stringed Dulcimer - handmade and taught by Dan Wilson of North Carolina

Meet our newest guides to the Colonial Era:
One dozen students ranging in age from 10 to 18 years have completed the My Ancestor, Myself training to become a colonist and will be at the festival portraying characters with the purpose to help engage festival goers with more of the history and times that Penn's Colony presents.

New Artists and Attractions:
Daily show Spies of the American Revolution presented by Nathan Hale portrayed by Professor Michael Botta of Point Park University. Botta is a retired FBI agent who teaches Intel for Point Park and online for the military college.

o    According to Botta, George Washington was the founding father of intelligence and he claims that's how we won the revolution. "Using Intelligence was the only way we could beat the British."
o    Botta uses Nathan Hale character because he is a well-known patriot and was a good friend of George Washington. Unfortunately he was a lousy spy and couldn't learn how to use invisible ink or remember the dead drop spots.
o    Visitors will learn about the first spy group that included women (Culper Gang) and their tradecraft that gave Washington intel on the British and techniques that are still used today.

According to Beth Rush, Penn's Colony' co-founder, the Festival brings Western Pennsylvania's history to life. Set on 12, easy-walking, tree-shaded acres and with the French and Indian War era (1750s) as a framework, Penn's Colony celebrates the region's daily life, history, arts and entertainment in a hands-on, interactive atmosphere perfect for family fun.

Pass through the town's gates and you are transported to an early American village on market day. Scores of costumed participants provide period music, dance and comedy. Periodfoods and more modern fare are available to feed hearty appetites.. French trappers, frontier men and soldiers stroll the byways.

Native Americans can occasionally be spotted under the boughs at the forest edge. Red-coated British soldiers march about town, tightly ranked, with rifles at the ready, while heated political discussions spring up on street corners, debating the effect of the Stamp Act and the issuance of paper money.

In addition to celebrating the history of the region, Penn's Colony tradesmen, more than 150 juried craftsmen, offer fine quality, handmade in America, functional and decorative arts, crafts, jewelry, metal ware and furniture from their shops nestled along the village streets.

"This is also not just another craft show," says Rush. "You can see and feel the passion in the work of these artisans. Whether it's a memento from your day with us or a piece of hand-made fine furniture, any purchase you might make is a quality item. You can talk with the artisans who made it. Ask them why they do what do. They'll be glad to share their stories of how they made the decision to act on their passions to create and preserve the hand-made in America arts."
The Scottish Dance Society offers invitations to the dance to all who might be interested in learning about the roots of America's own unique contribution, square dancing. Colonial era games for adults and children are available for family fun in Braddock's Field, the site for battle re-enactments and court proceedings against the colony's debtors and scoundrels.

These are some of the historical re-enactments and entertainment at Penn's Colony Festival:
Re-enactments on Braddock's Field

  •     Citizens field drills
  •     Artillery skills challenge
  •     Court proceedings of debtors, beggars and scoundrels
  •     Pioneer past times and children's contests
  •     Battle re-enactments

Re-enactments about town

  •     British red-coat drills
  •     Brigadoon Highland Pipes and Drums
  •     Rants and dialogs concerning issues shaping the political milieu
  •     Skirmishes between the French and British
  •     Town Crier
  •     Surrey rides


  •     Medicine show
  •     Celtic music
  •     Colonial American music
  •     Lectures on history and culture of Scottish dress and weaponry
  • Artist's demonstrations
  •     Glass blowing and stained glass making
  •     Basket making
  •     Wood carving, walking sticks to decorative accents of animals
  •     Decorative painting, fraktur, water colors, calligraphy
  •     The history of wampum

Hands-on opportunities

  •     Tin punching
  •     Penny whistle class
  •     Dulcimer class
  •     Carding wool sheered from sheep
  •     Spinning wool into yarn
  •     Needle arts and cross stitch taught by Pittsburgh Sewing School

Festival Dates and Hours of Operation:    
    Penn's Colony Festival, weekends only
September 19, 20 and 26, 27, 2009:
Saturdays - 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sundays - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission:    $6.50 adults (ages 16 to 59)
$5.50 seniors (ages 60 +)
$4.50 children (ages 8 to 15)
Free for kids under age 8
Some events may carry an extra charge

Group rates and educational field trips are available.

On-site, free parking

Penn's Colony is located on Saxonburg Boulevard,
just outside Saxonburg in Butler County.
For directions and other details, visit
Or call 724-352-9922.

Penn's Colony is pleased to provide contact information for possible interviews with some of our local history re-enactors, entertainers, artisans and exhibitors. For more information, contact Beth Rush at 724-352-9922 or Frank Catanzano at 412-965-5269 or email penns(at)connecttime(dot)net


Beth Rush (724) 352-9922
Frank Catanzano (412) 965-5269            

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