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Arts, pets, kids and fun at center of annual ChambersFest

July 16, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - July is a special time in Chambersburg, when you can see a youngster parade a hamster on a leash, adults walk on balloons or peruse the crafts and food of 200 vendors lining Main Street.

During the 10-day annual ChambersFest, which kicks off Friday, residents celebrate the borough's spirit and just have fun, said Melissa Knepper, an organizer from the Chambersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

She said CELEBRATE! The Arts at Old Market Day on Saturday is the largest draw of the event, but the Pet Parade and Almost Anything Goes Games, where teams of adults attempt all kinds of crazy games, are growing in popularity each year.

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"One year we had a pony dressed in a dragon costume. We've had chinchillas, pot-bellied pigs, snakes" and even goldfish traveling in a wagon made to look like a boat, Knepper said.

Last year, the Pet Parade drew more than 70 registrants, with a crowd of more than 100 people watching.

This year, the event will be held Monday at United Towers on Main Street, with registration beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The pets will show off their sounds in a new category, "Best Voice." Animals will get the chance to holler, bark, squeak or squeal into a microphone, Knepper said.

Local elected and business officials will serve as judges.

This is the 16th year for the community-wide festival that incorporates history, culture and fun.

It commemorates the burning of Chambersburg while celebrating the spirit of the residents who had the courage to refuse a Confederate ransom demand that led to the burning of Chambersburg on July 30, 1864.

The 1864 torching destroyed the entire central area of the borough, where the majority of activities take place during ChambersFest.

The opening ceremonies will be at noon Friday featuring "living history music" by Kent and Erica Courtney at Courthouse Square.

Saturday, the third annual Summer Jam for children will take place in the Southgate parking lot. It is the first time, however, it is being held in conjunction with ChambersFest, Knepper said.

There will be a local band, sumo wrestling and bouncing boxing for children.

Also Saturday, CELEBRATE! The Arts at Old Market Day will attract about 15,000 people, with another couple of thousand attending the daily events that run through July 28, Knepper said.

Old Market Day is organized by the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts and the Downtown Business Council.

Vendors will demonstrate chair caning, carvings, silver jewelry making, basket weaving and other crafts in the two blocks of South Main Street from Memorial Square to Washington Street.

Traffic will be detoured from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Main Street will be closed from King Street to Washington Street. Lincoln Way will be closed from Second Street to Black Avenue. King Street will be closed from Second Street to Main Street.

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