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Fulton Folk Festival a family affair

October 16, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - Schools were closed in Fulton County on Friday, but not many children stayed home. Along with their friends, parents or grandparents, they were out enjoying activities from one end of Fulton County to the other.

The 31st annual Fulton Fall Folk Festival kicked off Friday. Sponsored by the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the festival provides traditional entertainment for residents and visitors.

A popular activity at the event since 1978 is candle dipping, where children and adults may dip three white candles in vats of hot colored wax for $1.25.

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Teia Clevenger, 12, of Harrisonville, Pa., and Kera Shafer, 11, and Madison Shafer, 8, of Waterfall, Pa., dipped their candles in the blue and yellow waxes to create variegated layers.

"Every year, this is a hot spot," said Teia's mother, Stacy Clevenger. "They keep the candles from year to year."

Madison and Kera's mother, Danielle Shafer said, "We can't leave without dipping candles. The younger the children were, the gaudier their candles were."

The former owners of the Flower Basket and Gift Box started the tradition, current owner Sherry Sixeas said, and she continued it when she bought the business five years ago. She had 500 candles waiting for "young and old alike" to dip, she said.

"Many parents come to the dipping booth and say, 'I remember this. I couldn't wait to come back and bring my kids,'" Sixeas said.

Many of the activities are centered in McConnellsburg and at the Fulton County Fairgrounds, which will be the site of antique tractor and steam engine pulls today and draft horse pulls Sunday.

While the festival resembles other local fairs with its closed-off streets filled with food, craft and clothing vendors, what sets it apart is that it is a countywide event. Many of the county's municipalities have their own events, including those at the Grist Mill in Burnt Cabins, Pa., and Elvey's Flowers, Gifts and Greenhouses in Knobsville, Pa., and a breakfast at Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonville.

"Displays are all over. It's a big deal for Fulton County," said Richard Wible, Fulton County chief clerk. Wible grew up in Waterfall, in northern Fulton County.

Activities will start today at 4 a.m. with the apple butter boil at the Greenhill Sewing Club. A parade on Main Street in McConnellsburg begins at 10:30 a.m., rain or shine.

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