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Pa. block party short but sweet

August 17, 2003|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Park Avenue United Methodist Church's first block party had to close up shop a few hours early Saturday afternoon when thunder rumbled and raindrops fell.

Severe storms were forecast for the area, so craft vendors quickly took down awnings and packed up their wares.

Many children's activities, such as a duck pond, ring toss and face painting, had been set up in the street. They were hastily whisked away as the storm approached.

One block of Park Avenue, the widest street in Chambersburg, had been closed to traffic for the event. A local Christian band played beside the church, just off U.S. 11 in Chambersburg, while chairs for the audience were set up in the street.

Pastor Mark Woodring of Chambersburg said the block party showed "a lot of cooperation between generations in the church.

"The older people ate and shopped," he said. "The food, games and donations came from church members."

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A popular feature of the event was an unpriced yard sale.

"Take what you need and pay what you can afford," said yard sale coordinator Ann Barnes of Chambersburg.

"Some people get a dress and pay $20; someone else will get bunk beds and pay $5. It works pretty well," she said. "People get things they need and couldn't afford, even at yard sale prices."

One-third of the day's proceeds will go to 7th Day, a praise band started in February by high school students in the church. The seven youths comprising the band hope to purchase drums, sound equipment and other items, Barnes said.

Chambersburg resident Cindy Edwards, youth director at the church, said the block party may become an annual event.

A third of the proceeds will go to help to pay for painting the church, Barnes said, and a third to the Memorial Flag Project, of which Barnes is the local coordinator.

Eric Reeves, 2, shopped for crafts with his mother, Darnella Rideout of Chambersburg. He toted a huge brown shopping bag containing a birdhouse Rideout had purchased.

His interest was not solely on the crafts displays, however.

"I eat lollipops," he said.

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