Historic Hanna's Town mixes history with fun on Family Day

Oct. 30—Nicholas Borrelli might have donned a Halloween-themed T-shirt Saturday afternoon as he strolled through Historic Hanna's Town Fall Family Day, but he wasn't there for just candy.

Instead, the 11-year-old Greensburg resident was bursting with excitement at the chance to discover more about Western Pennsylvania's history.

"I really enjoy learning all the history around here, and I think it's really neat that there's so much history, especially out here in Western Pennsylvania," Nicholas said. "Living by Hanna's Town is really cool. So when there's an event, usually I persuade the rest of my family to come here."

Throughout the afternoon, families wandered through 18th century buildings as they explored Historic Hanna's Town and the events offered throughout Fall Family Day.

The annual event featured hayrides, spinning and weaving demonstrations and trick-or-treating at the various buildings. Several kids dressed in their Halloween costumes participated in crafts like dipping candles, making corn husk dolls and learning how to play 18th century games.

Halloween decorations were scattered throughout the property, with ghosts hanging in the woods, skeletons sitting on benches and jack-o'-lanterns perched on building porches.

"It's just a fun event where people can connect with history but then still have fun with it as well," said Lara Bromyard, education assistant at Hanna's Town.

In addition to partaking in Halloween events, guests could also learn the history of the area by viewing reenactments by Proctor's Militia, a local Revolutionary War reenactment group that demonstrated 18th century artillery fire and military drills, and learning about life for settlers on the Pennsylvania frontier.

"That's a pretty cool combination," Nicholas said. "You get a lot of different people to come as well, especially the younger audience."

Susan Fox, 66, of Beechview attended the event with her son and grandson, who are both interested in history.

"It's beautiful, they keep it immaculate," Fox said of the site.

Her grandson, Joseph Evangelista, 11, also of Beechview, spent the afternoon learning how to play various 18th century games.

"I was just surprised to see this much history," Joseph said. "I'm used to just doing stuff in the city, a bunch of technology, but out here it's just really quiet."

In addition to Fall Family Day, officials at Hanna's Town were gearing up for Saturday night's Jack-O'-Lantern Tours.

Similar to the daytime event, visitors will participate in different activities while learning about the origins of Halloween.

"A lot of the people in Hanna's Town were from Scots-Irish origin and Halloween has Celtic origins, so we talk about that," Bromyard said. "The folklore, the superstitions people might have carried with them living here in the 1770s, 1780s."

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan by email at mtomasic@triblive.com or via Twitter .