Whiskey Rebellion Festival Returns To Washington County This Summer

The Whiskey Rebellion Festival might just be one day this year, but that one day means a lot to Washington County; KDKA's Amy Wadas reports.

Video Transcript

- The pandemic has been a major blow to many businesses and communities in and around Pittsburgh. Amy Wadas explains why the comeback of one festival is so important to the city of Washington.

AMY WADAS: The Whiskey Rebellion Festival typically brings out about 20,000 people every summer, but that wasn't the case last year since the event had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant losing a lot of money as well as tourism here in Washington. Why the event coming back this summer means so much more.

The Whiskey Rebellion Festival might just be one day this year, but that one day means a lot to Washington County, including local business owner Ellen Hough.

ELLEN HOUGH: We're fully staffed. Our staff is excited that people in the area are excited to show us off, and I am very hopeful that we will be able to see that again this year.

AMY WADAS: Hough owns Liberty Poll Spirits, a distillery in downtown Washington. Her business takes part in the festival every year, but last year, the four day festival was canceled.

ELLEN HOUGH: So last year when we were shut down for COVID and there was no festival, it was brutal.

AMY WADAS: The cancellation meant a lost money, tourism, and community.

CHASE MCCLAIN: Without events, it really did hurt our economy, and I think now we're starting to see some of those events come back and things are starting to look up for us.

AMY WADAS: Chase McClain with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce says restaurants suffered and hotels didn't have the occupancy they normally have. So with the return of one of the biggest festivals in the county, there's a lot to look forward to with, of course, some restrictions.

JOE PISZCOR: What is going to be mainly different is we will be adhering to CDC guidelines, but we do have a shuttle running from the parking lot. We have social distancing that's going to be laid out, and we did modify the layout of the festival to give us more space and spread everybody out a little bit more.

AMY WADAS: Most of this year's event which will be taking place on July 10th will happen under this pavilion, but organizers say it will still be a lot of fun.

JOE PISZCOR: We will be having six acts. We're happy that this year with our bands, especially. They're all local. And we have Jakob's Ferry Stragglers headlining us, which we love that band. They have gone national as a local act here.

AMY WADAS: And lots of food, drinks, and fun activities for the kids with a renewed hope at the same time. Amy Wadas, KDKA News.