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Borough strikes its colors

November 14, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Allie Kohler spent part of Friday afternoon helping to take down 48 banners that had been attached to street light poles all summer to tell visitors that Waynesboro was celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

All 48 have been sold, said Kohler, who was in charge of coordinating the hundreds of events and exhibits that marked the two-month long celebration in August and September.

"They were all sold before we even put them up," Kohler said. "They're a keepsake. Someday they'll start showing up in flea markets and at auctions. They'll increase in value over the years."

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The banners sold for $40 each, the price bicentennial committee paid for them, he said.

Sales of all of the bicentennial commemorative items including 1,000 glass mugs, 1,285 T-shirts, 1,500 coins, 2,650 calendars, 2,850 professionally produced videos of Waynesboro history made for the bicentennial, 500 key chains and other items that were purchased up by residents hoping to grab some local nostalgia surpassed committee expectations, Kohler said.

Some items, like the videos, reaped nearly 100 percent profit and are still selling, he said.

"If the demand is there, we will buy more. We don't want to turn anyone away who wants one," he said.

The few T-shirts and other clothes that didn't sell were given to charity, he said.

The committee started planning the celebration, the borough's first since the 150th anniversary in 1947, by soliciting donations. The members collected $86,000 in corporate, business and individual donations. The celebration with its daily events and grand finale parade cost $94,000. The difference was made up by the sales, he said.

"It's a little embarrassing that we ended up with so much money. It's not that we over fund-raised, it's that we under-estimated how much we would make on the sales," he said.

He declined to say how much money was left over.

Kohler said a final accounting will be made by the committee at its January meeting. The members will also decide what to do with it at that time, he said.

Kohler, a retired Waynesboro area school teacher, began working full-time coordinating the festival in early summer. It turned into seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day when the celebration went full swing in late August, he said.

He also said he was overwhelmed at the amount of community support the celebration drew from residents.

"I learned that when there's a good cause, everyone will turn out to support it," he said.

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