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Vendors line the streets for ChambersFest event

July 21, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Whenever George Krieger thought about giving up on his goal - painting and selling buckets - he remembered legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

If Eddie Van Halen could put in hours upon hours of work to learn his trade, so can I, Krieger figured.

On Saturday, Krieger was one of dozens of vendors in downtown Chambersburg, Pa., for ChambersFest, which annually commemorates how the borough re-emerged after it was burned by Confederates in 1864.

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The blocks fanning out from the fountain in the square were kept free of traffic Saturday so artisans, food vendors and pedestrians could line the streets.

At the mouth of the square, Scott Wentz of Selinsgrove, Pa., set up Wentz's Pork Palace (motto: "Even the hogs go hogwild over it") and Monkey Bread (motto: "Even the monkeys go ape over it.").

Monkey bread is dough balls rolled in cinnamon and sugar, then baked, Donna Adee, Wentz's sister, said as she waited on customers.

The day also included entertainment.

While a band called Intrigue played Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man" on the South Main Street stage, juggling acrobat Kevin Kabakjian wowed a Courthouse Square audience by balancing himself on a ladder and walking around using only the ladder's feet.

Saturday's exact attendance wasn't available, but Anne Finucane of the Chambersburg Area Council of the Arts, which helps organize the event, said between 10,000 and 15,000 people were expected.

ChambersFest started Thursday and will run each day until next Sunday.

Only a few dozen people stopped in Noelker and Hull Associates Inc. at 30 W. King St., an architecture firm invisible from Main Street. The firm displays artwork by Chambersburg Area Senior High School students each year, architect Bob Fike said.

Fike quietly read the newspaper in the air-conditioned office Saturday afternoon, greeting occasional visitors.

On the other hand, Krieger's booth on Lincoln Way East was well-visited.

Krieger, of Parkton in Baltimore County, Md., paints pictures on plastic buckets, mainly for children, and sells them for $20. He'll personalize a bucket for free.

After teaching culinary arts at a high school, he became a college vice president. One day, he decided he was spending far too much time at work on trivial matters.

"We would spend the whole day asking, 'Should the corridor be white?' " Krieger said. "Meanwhile, there are kids who can't read."

Krieger had never drawn anything, but he remembered how much fun his 18-month-old nephew had dragging a bucket around the house one day. He bought a compressor and buckets, and practiced painting for four years.

Briefly, he quit and took substitute teaching jobs, but he returned to his craft and has been at it full-time for five years.

Carol Anne Krieger, George's wife, has her own business. She was set up next to her husband Saturday.

She molds, by hand, a mixture of concrete and mortar, then adds pieces of riverbed, glass and beach pebbles. The finished products are durable stones for stepping on or hanging on a wall.

Some crafters had traditional products of wood, metal or glass.

Ed. Ratajczak of Laureldale, Pa., sold spoons turned into rings, key chains, napkin rings, thermometers and more.

Another vendor, Nasby E. Bowen of Chambersburg, has more than 1,000 game and fish commission patches and at least one conservation patch from each of the 50 states.

Two years ago, he went into sales and started "Nas's Patches."

Bowen, who is about to retire after 23 years working for the borough of Chambersburg, creates his own historical patches. Each year, he designs one representing the borough and one representing Franklin County.

Last year, he designed a commemorative patch about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Bowen said next year's commemorative patch may feature two baseball Hall of Famers: Ted Williams, who recently died, and Nellie Fox, who grew up in nearby St. Thomas, Pa.

So many ideas and history, so little time.

"I could live to be 150 and do two patches a year, and never get to (do) them all," Bowen said.

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