“Last year when we were shut down for COVID there was no festival. It was brutal,” said a Washington business owner.

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – The Whiskey Rebellion Festival might just be one day this year, but that one day means a lot to Washington County, including local business owner Ellen Hough.

“We are fully staffed and excited and I am very hopeful to see it again this year,” said Hough.

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Hough owns Liberty Pole Spirits, a distillery in downtown Washington. Her business takes part in the festival every year, but last year the four-day festival was canceled. The event typically brings out around 20,000 people every year.

“Last year when we were shut down for COVID there was no festival. It was brutal,” said Hough.

The cancellation meant lost money, tourism and community.

“Without events, it hurt the economy and I think now we are starting to see events come back and look up for us,” said Chase McClain with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

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McClain said restaurants suffered, and hotels didn’t have the occupancy they normally have. However, with the return of one of the biggest festivals in the county, there’s a lot to look forward to, with of course some restrictions.

“What’s going to be mainly different is we will be adhering to CDC guidelines,” said Whiskey Rebellion Festival Co-Chair Joe Piszcor. “We have a shuttle running from the parking lot, social distancing is going to be laid out, we did modify the layout of the festival to give us more space and spread everyone out a little more.”

Most of this year’s event, which will be taking place on July 10, will happen under a pavilion in downtown Washington, but organizers say it will still be a lot of fun.

“We will be having six acts. Our bands especially this year are all local,” said Piszcor.

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There will also be a lot of food, drink and fun activities for the kids with a renewed hope at the same time.