Penn's Colony Festival abruptly canceled in Clinton Township because of staffing shortage

Sep. 3—Penn's Colony Festival organizers have canceled their regional dayslong festival, mere weeks from its scheduled kickoff date of Sept. 16.

The event typically runs on two weekends and showcases the French-and-Indian-era history of Western Pennsylvania. It offers an expansive outdoor village featuring period craftsmen, demonstrations, live music, food, battle reenactments and more.

The festival usually attracts up to 10,000 visitors daily to Clinton Township, near Saxonburg.

This year's festival was scheduled for Sept. 16-17 and 23-24 at the grounds located on private property along Saxonburg Blvd.

On Friday, the entrance remained blocked and no signage related to the festival was visible.

The news of the cancelation was first announced in a brief post Wednesday on the Penn's Colony Facebook page.

"Penn's Colony Festival is canceled for 2023. The Festival will return and we hope you will join us in September 2024," the post read.

By Sunday morning, the unexpected announcement had drawn more than 200 comments on Facebook, with many posts asking why?

In a press release issued Thursday evening by festival spokeswoman Suzi Neft, organizers said the cancellation was due to a "significant staff shortage" for pre-event festival-related activities.

"The grounds staff work to prepare the grounds for customer service and for its historic aesthetic quality; not to mention the office staff who administer and organize the artisans, period entertainers and battle reenactors," said Raymond Rush, event director.

Rush declined further comment on staffing specifics.

Neft was unable to provide a number of staff members who were available but said the festival requires at least 40 employees to set up the grounds.

Neft said more than 150 vendors and reenactors were notified of the cancellation by phone.

The festival is scheduled to return for its 40th anniversary in 2024, organizers said.

The event was previously canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce by email at or via Twitter .