Fashions from the ’90s were all the rage in downtown Washington Saturday afternoon.
The 1790s, that is.
That’s because the Whiskey Rebellion Festival was in full swing, assisted by flawless weather and a robust turnout.
Attendance at this year’s event, 10 years after the inaugural festival, could well be “record-setting,” according to Joe Manning, the co-chairman of the festival and a member of Washington’s city council. The blue skies and temperatures that were warm, but not oppressive, surely helped.
“We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said.
The festival started Thursday, with a mix of historical re-enactors, music, food, arts and crafts and more. A community parade helped start the festivities Saturday morning, and street theater performances happened on Main Street throughout the afternoon. The re-creation of a tarring and feathering, one of the festival’s most popular attractions, happened at 5 p.m. A new attraction this year was the Rebellion Distillery Tasting Tour, where visitors could sample the wares of 16 Pennsylvania whiskeymakers.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the first Whiskey Rebellion Festival and the 225th anniversary of the end of the Whiskey Rebellion, when farmers in the western part of the commonwealth revolted when the federal government imposed a tax on distilled spirits in order to pay for debts the country incurred as a result of the Revolutionary War.
Additional events are scheduled for today, including re-enactments and demonstrations in Washington Park, a historical church service and a local community choir concert.
Clay Kilgore, the executive director of the Washington County Historical Society and a re-enactor, said the good weather and enthusiasm made this year’s festival a success, “and it keeps getting better and better,” he said.