LIGONIER Pa. (KDKA) – Ligonier looked particularly beautiful Thursday. But the reality is a dark cloud hanging over the place. Fort Ligonier Days, originally set for October, is officially canceled.
“We’re gonna miss it,” says Danny McMaster from Ligonier Outfitters. “It’s a huge weekend for us and for everybody.”
McMaster’s family-owned business is one of the many shops in town that relies on Fort Ligonier Days for their bottom line.
“You got people that come out of town, out of state. They come back every year,” he says.
But the festival’s organizers say COVID-19 concerns and challenges are the reason for what they call a most difficult situation.
“All the businesses in Ligonier are gonna lose money,” says shop owner Dennis Matthews. “A lot of money.”
Matthews’ family owns a Native American jewelry store. He tells KDKA’s Ross Guidotti there’s no way to capture just what Fort Ligonier Days means to his shop.
“You can hardly get in the door, there are all kinds of people out there,” he says.
So thousands and thousands of people won’t be packing Main Street and crowding around the square, but organizers say there is a way online to enjoy this tradition in the Ligonier Valley.
The Fort Ligonier Days Festival will go virtual via the festival’s social media channels and website. Merchants, vendors, sponsors and supporters will each have the opportunity to be featured in the virtual festival.
And that’s nice, but for Dennis Matthews and Danny McMaster, it won’t be the same. So for now, it’s sell what you can and hang on until next year.
“Whatever they think is good, we’ll adjust for it. Hate to lose it, but it’s one of those things,” says McMaster.
“We just gotta take one step at a time,” says Matthews.