By RICHARD F. BELISLE
MARION, Pa. - Today marks the beginning of the 1998 Marion Festival, this unincorporated Franklin County village's annual mini-carnival that runs for five Saturday nights through June 27.
The festival not only raises money to keep the community's street lights going and pays for trees planted in town, but also is the biggest fund-raiser for the Marion Volunteer Fire Co. and the Marion Athletic Association, the agency that runs the local ball park and its teams.
The festival, which Chairman Ken Baker calls "a real community event," has been held on the athletic field off Kennedy Street since the early 1960s. Before that it was held on the Marion Elementary School grounds until more room was needed. The festival dates back to the days after World War II, Baker said, and is the community's biggest single fund-raiser, grossing about $60,000 each year.