Mountaintop experience

Blue Ridge Summit hosts Heritage Days

Blue Ridge Summit hosts Heritage Days

July 02, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER/Staff Correspondent

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, PA. - Ask Gary Muller what Mountaintop Heritage Days are about, and he will tell you, "It's a mountaintop thing, and most people don't understand."

Muller, owner of Flohr True Value Lumber in Blue Ridge Summit and one of the organizers of the event, said that the traditional lines of states and counties do not divide the community. Rather, the community views itself as one.

"We cross the state line multiple times a day, we go to different schools, but we're still one community," Muller said.

The first Mountaintop Heritage Days kicked off Saturday with a parade. According to Arben "Topper" Harbaugh, a lifetime resident of Cascade, it was Blue Ridge Summit's first parade since the 1976 bicentennial celebration.


For many, the festival is a welcome infusion of the past. "There's nothing like this anymore," said Dennis Lowe of Blue Ridge Summit.

Lowe and his family were more than pleased with the heritage days, seeing how the event also fell on the same day as their yard sale.

Other spectators traveled from across the country for the weekend event.

Lorraine and Sonny Gladhill, former Blue Ridge Summit residents, came from Tuscan, Ariz., for the event. Lorraine was thrilled to see the community hosting the event, and planned her vacation in order to experience it.

Residents and visitors lined the street with lawn chairs to watch the classic cars, horses and swing dancers from The Hub City Lindy Hop parade past.

While some watched the parade, Civil War re-enactors camped across town to commemorate the Battle of Monterey Pass.

According to John Miller, a Civil War re-enactor, the armies of the North and the South fought atop the mountain in 1863 as both fled from Gettysburg in early July. Part of what historians are calling the Gettysburg Campaign, the Battle of Monterey Pass is a central focus of the festival this weekend.

Miller, a resident of Fountaindale, Pa., said that many people are just learning about the battle.

"Some have lived here their whole lives and never heard of the Battle of Monterey Pass," Miller said.

To help residents learn about their history, Miller invited re-enactors to set up camp on the actual site of the battle and talk about the events of that stormy night. Re-enactors, both Confederate and Union, will camp on the site for three days.

The festival will offer talks about the battle all weekend, featuring a free guided walk Monday by Michael Vallone and Troy Harmon.

The festival continues today and Monday.

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