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Whiskey Rebellion Retold at Annual Festival

WASHINGTON, Pa. —  The Whiskey Rebellion Festival celebrates the heritage and unique character of the region by focusing on the historical significance of the Whiskey Rebellion, a history that is unique to western Pennsylvania and primarily Washington County.

The festival honors the significant period of America’s early days through historic re-enactments, period exhibitions and demonstrations, family fun, frontier art, heritage music and food, shining a national spotlight on the city, county and region. Community focused entertainment combines with nationally renowned artists to create a festival that acknowledges the past, celebrates the present and looks toward the future.

In 1791, Congress instituted a tax on whiskey, setting off a torrent of protest from farmers in western Pennsylvania, many of whom distilled and sold whiskey. The farmers felt the tax was an abuse of federal authority.

In July of 1794, a force of 400 disaffected whiskey rebels, mainly from Washington County, attacked and destroyed the home of a tax inspector just south of Pittsburgh. The rebellion grew in numbers and threatened to spread to other states.  One of the leaders of the rebellion, Washington attorney David Bradford, and his family lived in the historic Bradford House from 1788 to 1794. However, his residence was cut short because of his involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion.

President George Washington eventually sent 13,000 militia to western Pennsylvania to quell the uprising. When the troops arrived, the rebellion had collapsed and most of the rebels had fled. Later, David Bradford received a pardon for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion.

Now that you know a bit about the history of the Whiskey Rebellion, come and enjoy the parade, re-enactments, live entertainment, arts and crafts, various food vendors, street theater, fireworks, and of course, libations at the 2016 Whiskey Rebellion Festival. It will be held July 7-10 in Historic Downtown Washington, Pa. and Washington Park Fort Site.

Watch as some of the best re-enactors around bring to life the events of the 1700s. Some of the region’s top 18th century re-enactment groups include Wayne’s Fourth Sub-Legion, 1st Virginia Regiment, Rangers of the Ohio Company, the Whiskey Jug Rangers, Roger’s Rangers, The Oliver Miller Homestead, Westmoreland Rifles and Swearingen’s Militia.

The festival’s main stage comes alive with Americana/Heritage music throughout the day on Saturday and the streets are transported back to the 18th century as re-enactors perform and tell the story of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Thursday’s lineup include a Main Street Farmers Market, Washington Health System Health Fair, and Washington Symphony Orchestra and Festival Chorale.

On Friday, enjoy the music of Matt Jordan, Phil Wiggins and the Chesapeake Shieks and Jimmy Adler.

Saturday evenings main entertainers will include The Steel City Rovers, the Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, and The Travelin’ McCourys.

Sunday will see a Classic Car Show on Main Street, and re-enactments at the fort site.

For more information about the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, go to WhiskeyRebellion           Festival.com.

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