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Sidewalk Days a boon for borough businesses

July 10, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A breakfast meeting between two downtown Greencastle merchants in the late 1960s still influences life in Greencastle today.

According to Lester Martin, owner of E.L.M. Department Store on center square, his late father, Norman Martin, then owner of E.L.M., had breakfast with Jacob Alleman of J.J. Alleman Electric Co. and one of them suggested working together to create an atmosphere to stimulate business.

"They came up with the Lincoln's Birthday sales in February and the Sidewalk Days," Lester Martin said as the 37th annual Greencastle-Antrim Sidewalk Days got under way Friday morning.

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"It's a pretty important part of our business," he added.

Martin runs in-store promotions and places discounted merchandise on racks and tables on the sidewalk. Sidewalk Days "keeps Greencastle feeling like it's a hometown. People look forward to the event; it's always the second week in July. It's a fun time. It's two days of hard work, but it's still fun."

Martin said that this is the first year that the Chamber of Commerce has managed the event.

Merchants on East Baltimore and South Carlisle streets put their wares out on the sidewalk on tables and racks. Customers could purchase everything from clothes to baked goods to antique furniture. Vendors set up tables and booths to sell crafts, rugs, flea market items, hand-woven baskets, baseball cards, watercolor portraits and many other items.

Martin said that while Sidewalk Days originally was intended for local merchants, food and craft vendors carefully were selected and added to the event over the years.

Holly Ressler, administrative assistant with the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, said nearly 90 vendors signed up this year, an increase from last year.

"This is the first year Carlisle Street was closed" to allow vendors to set up in the middle of the street, Ressler said.

Children funneled layers of fine, colored sand into animal-shaped plastic jars at the Sand Art booth.

"The little people are so funny," said Hazel Lawler, who with her husband, Bob, runs the concession. "We enjoy watching their expressions when they do their bottles. They are just adorable." The Lawlers are from Gerrardstown, W.Va.

Greencastle residents Hattie and Wayne Nicarry sat on a bench in center square sharing a plate of hot, crispy "hogs tails" - clumps of crisply-fried, extremely thin potato slices - from the Rescue Hose Company stand.

Sidewalk Days "is a highlight," Hattie Nicarry said. "They have a nice variety of things. The crab cakes are outstanding."

Rescue Hose Company members Michael McAtee of Greencastle and Norm Hann Sr. of State Line, Pa., demonstrated the technique used to slice the unpeeled potatoes for the crunchy treat. McAtee put a potato in a holder attached to a drill, then pressed it against a slicer. Hann held a bowl to catch the spiraled slices.

Employees of Food Lion in Greencastle worked in a booth selling baked goods, all made and donated by Food Lion employees. All proceeds will go to the Children's Miracle Network at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to fund research and treatment of serious childhood illnesses.

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