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Committee says WaynesboroFest was a success

September 28, 2000

Committee says WaynesboroFest was a success



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Allie Kohler worried for nothing. His Waynesboro community came through.

Kohler was the coordinator for the first WaynesboroFest, the 10-day community wide festival that ended Sunday.

WaynesboroFest is an offshoot of Waynesboro's two-month-long Bicentennial Celebration in the summer of 1997.

Organizers of that event decided to give an abbreviated repeat performance this year calling it WaynesboroFest. They also hoped to perpetuate the event by bringing it back every third year as a means of celebrating the Waynesboro community, somewhat like Greencastle, Pa.'s triennial Old Home Week festival which has been held every three years since the turn of the 20th century.

The committee organizing WaynesboroFest started out with about $30,000 left over when all bills were paid for the Bicentennial Celebration.

The committee spent about $20,000 on WaynesboroFest commemorative items including buttons, booklets, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, plates, ceramics and other mementos.

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Kohler said Thursday that most of the items were sold before and during the 10-day fest.

Some didn't sell as well as expected. Only about 100 of 250 of the large, $45 alloy commemorative plates sold, Kohler said. The committee bought 50 house flags and sold only 30. The shot glasses and China plates were also poor sellers, he said.

Those disappointing sales won't prevent the festival from breaking even, Kohler said. A final accounting will be given when the festival committee meets Oct. 16.

More important, Kohler said the committee was heartened by the turnout, support and volunteerism that the community showed during the festival.

About a week before it opened Kohler was bemoaning the lack of enthusiasm from residents and civic and social organizations who seemed to show little interest. Kohler said he feared that the festival would fail. Only a few of the planned events were drawing interest.

Things began to turn around at the kick-off when more than 700 people showed up for the informal gathering under a giant tent on the Waynesboro Area Senior High School grounds on the first night of the festival.

Not all of the events during the next nine days were a smashing success, Kohler said. Some of the bigger ones like the historical tours, walking and bus, were very well attended, he said. Bingo did well and more than 1,000 people attended a United Stetes Air Force Band concert in the high school auditorium. A concert by Waynesboro's own Wayne Band didn't do as well, but the grand parade on Sept. 16 turned out patrons by the thousands even though rain that day pushed several marching units away.

The community choir was a huge success as was a day-long series of local exhibits in the middle schools.

"I was discouraged at first, and not everything was perfect, but overall I think we did very well. I'm satisfied that we provided the community with some high quality activities," Kohler said.

"We did well enough to have the festival continue," said Carol Henicle, a WaynesboroFest committee member. "I came away very encouraged about having it again in 2003."

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