Philipsburg festival celebrates Civil War soldiers, heritage

Heritage Days are taking on a new meaning in Philipsburg this year.

Under the theme of “North and South Come Together,” Philipsburg will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War during its annual Heritage Days event by paying tribute to residents who fought in the war and are buried in local cemeteries. The re-enactment group Lincoln’s Generals also will be on hand to answer questions and perform demonstrations, committee chair Jim Pollock said.

“Each one of the people in the group [Lincoln’s Generals] take on a persona of leader or someone who had a command position in the war,” Pollock said. “They wear the same uniform, use the same accent and most of the people actually look like the people they portray.”

The members of Lincoln’s Generals will be doing re-enactment camping at Cold Stream Dam to provide a look at how soldiers in the Civil War lived while on the move.

“They’ll be building a bonfire and anyone who wants to go out there to meet them or sit around and tell stories is welcome,” Pollock said.

Pollock said Heritage Days prides itself on being a family-friendly event. This year, kids can learn from “Dr. Planet” (Steve Hennessy) and visit a living science lab to learn more about agriculture.

Other events on tap include a car show and raffle of a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic and a karaoke contest. Entertainment will begin at 8 p.m. each evening at the Edward Navitsky Memorial Sound Stage.

Now in its 16th year, Heritage Days has grown into a homecoming of sorts for Philipsburg residents, Pollock said. He said front porches and backyards are filled with parties and family gatherings throughout the week, culminating with the parade on Saturday afternoon.

The timing with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and People’s Choice Festival is deliberate.

“We’re focused on bringing the community and promoting tourism for our area,” Pollock said. “We hope that people can come over from Arts Fest and People’s Choice to see what we’ve got going on, and that our people can go over there to support them.”