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Food, fun and music are big attractions at Summer Jam

July 26, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Her face painted with a cat's nose and whiskers, Brittany Kauffman, 11, walked away from Sunday's Summer Jam 2004 at Donald "Mike" Waters Memorial Playground loaded with a lot of freebies.

A paper hat the Chambersburg girl personally festooned, helium-filled balloons and a tie-dyed T-shirt were among the goodies she got at the jam, one of the many events of ChambersFest, the annual two-week festival celebrating Chambersburg's rebuilding after it was torched by Confederate raiders in the summer of 1864.

Summer Jam started in 2000 as a group project of Leadership Franklin County, according to Melissa Knepper, the executive director of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber Foundation, the overall sponsor of the event. Several hundred children, teenagers, parents and grandparents wandered through the park Sunday, enjoying the free rides, music, face painting, balloon animals and other amusements.

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Chelsea Finn, 9, and brother Josh, 4, of St. Thomas, Pa., were among dozens of kids who doffed their shoes and lined up for repeated rides on the Accelerator, a giant inflatable slide, or a chance to bounce around inside an inflatable castle.

Two rock bands, Fourth Element from the Baltimore area and None of the Above from Chambersburg, cranked out tunes from the back of a flatbed truck.

"I loved the music and all the free food. Well, the popcorn," said Lee Packer, 15, of Chambersburg.

David Hoover on drums, Mitch Benedict on bass and vocals, and Al Benedict and Kyle Underkoffler on guitars make up the foursome for None of the Above. All are going into 10th grade this fall, except for Al Benedict, who will be in ninth grade, according to Hoover's father, Wayne.

Wayne Hoover said the alternative rock band was formed about 18 months ago and the musicians write much of their own material, working away for hours in practice sessions.

"And I always know where they are ... in my basement," he said.

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