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Pittsburgh December Sunday Drives

Each month CarSense highlights some of the best attractions in the region.

The Air Heritage Museum

January 11, 2020

As we embark on the 2020s, may we suggest catching a free flight back in time? A visit to the Air Heritage Museum is a treat for families and history buffs alike, with iconic aircraft from America’s 1930s, 40s and 50s. 

Two modern jet fighters greet you upon arrival at the parking lot. On display inside are completely refurbished planes and those undergoing-restoration in the museum’s busy repair facility. From small WWII military aircraft and pilot trainers to large cargo planes like the C-47, there’s a lot to see, some historic (a model replica of the Wright Brother’s plane “The Flyer”), some as modern as a drone. Alongside exhibits of artifacts, gear and equipment, there’s here’s even a cool model airplane collection.

Outside the hanger, don’t miss “The Thunder Pig”, a vintage C-123 that’s still flying exhibition missions and appearing at air shows regularly. You may recognize this very large transport from its starring roles in movies including Con Air and Die Hard 2

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sundays by appointment only. Admission is free but any or all donations are welcome. 

Beaver County Airport
35 Piper St.
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

(724) 843-2820

25th Annual Fire & Ice Festival

January 17-19

Somerset is a cool town that makes a great getaway for friends and families even when it’s not January. But if you’re looking for the coolest time to visit, January’s Fire & Ice Festival would be our choice. 

This is the 25th year for the popular winter event, which lasts the entire weekend of January 17-19. Ice carving is a major part of the action, with dozens of glistening ice sculptures, intricately carved by hand. (There are fascinating carving demonstrations Friday and Saturday nights, so you can see how they’re made.) One of the family favorites is ice skating around the Fire & Ice Rink; if shopping is more your speed, check out the Fire & Ice Marketplace which hosts some 30 vendors in the Historic Newberry Building. 

On the entertainment side, there’s live music, with local favorites The Boomers featured Friday and Diamond Star Halo on Saturday. And if you’re a runner, sign-up for the Fire & Ice 5K, which kicks off at 10 am Saturday. (Registration is $30 online, and includes an event hoodie if you act by January 10th.) There’s always good food on hand, including a sure-to-be warm Chili Cook-Off Saturday from 3-5 pm, and kids love the festival’s many activities, including its Annual Train Display by the Laurel Highlands Model Railroad Club. Friday night festivities kick off with fireworks at 6:30 pm.

For full event activities, ticket information and details please visit the website. Purchase a commemorative Fire & Ice pin and you’ll enjoy perks, freebies and more.

Streets of Uptown Somerset
Somerset, PA 15501

(814) 443-1748

29th Annual Ice Fest

January 25-26

Ligonier in Westmoreland County’s Laurel Highlands has been recognized by Country Living Magazine as one of “The Most Charming Small Towns in America”, and is home to Idlewild Park—one of the oldest and most popular children’s amusement parks in the country. And if you want to get acquainted with this friendly town, the annual Ice Fest might be the perfect occasion. 

A lot happens over the course of the January 25-26 weekend. There’s live music and dancing at the town hall. A hearty spaghetti dinner at the fire house. You can take a romantic ride in a horse drawn carriage. Take the kids to storytelling at the library (before you check out the toy stores.) Or – not far from a remarkable exhibition of up to 50 handcrafted ice sculptures and artworks that are on display daily from 9 am-6 pm – you can watch the flakes fly as ice artisans chisel and craft their one of-a-kind creations. 

Admission is free, outside of food, which is available from Ligonier’s many restauranteurs and merchants. (They also stage open houses and provide special offerings to the many expected visitors and festival goers.) Ice Fest offers much to see and do, but it isn’t the only attraction that draws thousands of visitors to Ligonier each year, so keep the town in mind for when the weather gets warmer. Ligonier is also within a short drive of Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce
120 East Main St.
Ligonier, PA 15658

(724) 238-4200

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