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Waynesboro gets ready to celebrate

August 12, 2000

Waynesboro gets ready to celebrate



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Dozens of commemorative items line the shelves of an old storefront on Waynesboro's Public Square, and Allie Kohler has donned his festival hat again for the first time in three years.

The First Triennial WaynesboroFest, 10 days of planned fun and educational and historical events in downtown Waynesboro, runs Sept. 15-24 in what organizers hope will become a longtime community tradition to be repeated every three years.

The event would be similar to the Old Home Week festival in Greencastle, Pa., which has been held every three years since the turn of the century.

WaynesboroFest's roots were planted in the town's two-month-long Bicentennial celebration in the summer of 1997. Kohler, 62, a retired Waynesboro high school teacher, coordinated the 200th anniversary along with a huge committee of volunteers.

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Now he's at it again for WaynesboroFest.

The idea for WaynesboroFest stemmed from a $30,000 surplus left from the sale of Bicentennial commemorative items. The money, coupled with the public acceptance of and participation in the 200th anniversary events, prompted the committee to think of perpetuating the celebration with a triennial event.

The plan won the blessing of the Waynesboro Borough Council.

The three-year schedule also fits in with the rotation of local high school reunions, which were a big part of the Bicentennial celebration.

Kohler said holding an annual celebration would be difficult for the volunteers and put too much of a burden on fund-raisers. Also, he said, Waynesboro has no single historic event to celebrate such as the annual celebration in Shepherdstown, W.Va., of the anniversary of James Rumsey's launch of his steamboat.

Kohler said residents and organizations aren't showing as much enthusiasm for WaynesboroFest as they did for the Bicentennial.

"It's been harder to get volunteers this time," he said. "At this point, we don't know what to expect. Are we going to get the community support we got before?"

Kohler said WaynesboroFest will cost about $36,000, including the purchase the commemorative items.

The committee bought 5,000 WaynesboroFest buttons. Each is numbered so families can get the same number for each subsequent celebration.

The buttons cost $5 and include an event program book and pages of local discount shopping that can only be used during the 10-day celebration.

The WaynesboroFest logo features Burns Cabin, said to be Waynesboro's oldest building. Kohler said the symbol will change with each triennial celebration.

Among the commemorative items now for sale in the WaynesboroFest headquarters on the square are pewter plates, sweatshirts and T-shirts, hats, flags, mugs and glasses, pens, key rings and trivets.

The headquarters is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning Aug. 28, it will be open daily except Wednesdays.

The festival gets under way with an informal gathering at 5 p.m. Sept. 15 with free food served in a large tent near Rip Engle Stadium, followed by an official opening at 7 p.m. The Waynesboro Area Senior High School football squad will take on the team from Cumberland Valley High School. Fireworks will end the night's activities.

The next day will be filled with activities downtown on the Square, the highlight of which will be the grand parade.

The rest of the festival will be taken up with a bingo game, the only event that requires an admission fee, historical bus and walking tours, a sing-along and community concert, walking tours, kids' story times, a talent showcase, concerts by the Air Force Band and the Wayne Band, fashion, auto, flower and memorabilia shows, antique appraisals, an auction and open houses at four area businesses, among other events.

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