Dave and Debbie Stoner are sponsoring their annual Arts & Crafts Colonial Festival this -- and every Labor Day -- weekend at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant Township. The fair starts Friday and ends Monday.
The Stoners, of North Huntingdon, produce five such shows a year, but "this is the biggest one," Mr. Stoner said. "It draws about 25,000."
If you attend, you can expect to see not only vendors but also live music befitting the colonial period and a simulated Civil War military encampment, among others.
Indeed, one of the stipulations to be involved is that "everyone has to dress in colonial dress," Mr. Stoner said.
And, thanks to history of Bushy Run and Fort Ligonier, both in Westmoreland County, "this area's steeped in history, so we decided that we wanted to do a show that's themed." Included in this year's musical entertainment are the Latrobe Pipe Band; two "string bands," Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray and the Beaver County-based Beaver Creek Colonial String Band, which does folk, bluegrass, military tunes and patriotic numbers; and the Westland Flute Choir of Southwest Greensburg, which does primarily traditional folk music. The festival will also include a "Wild World of Animals" exhibit featuring rare animals and an insect demonstration.
"We have over 225 spaces sold with vendors from 16 states," Mr. Stoner said.
Preparation for the festival took place right after the Westmoreland Fair ended on Saturday, with "nine to 10 of our people" that Mr. Stoner said worked on cleanup and setting up booths.
The couple got the idea for putting on craft shows from Mrs. Stoner's interest -- she said that she used visiting them to unwind from her stressful job as a medical technologist at UPMC, where she still works on a casual basis. On top of that, Mr. Stoner had previously been an assistant director of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and a national sales director for the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"With Dave's background with doing trade shows, we had thought that we could start our own business and start doing trade shows," Mrs. Stoner said. To finance the venture, "We sold our [North Hills] home and moved to a smaller one."
The couple did their first festival in 1992 at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in Dunbar Township, but "we're from Westmoreland County and we wanted to do a fair in Westmoreland County," Mr. Stoner said. "We added this show the second year we were in business."
If you miss this show, the Stoners operate other festivals throughout the year.
The cost is $6, $5.50 for seniors, $1 for children ages 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger.
Rick Nowlin: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3871.