Packed with events, ChambersFest enters 19th year

July 14, 2005|by Cheryl M. Keyser

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Rocking chairs downtown, baseball memorabilia, quilts, square dancing, a volksmarch and a one-mile race, a pet parade, "The Monkey Man" and a wedding in the style of the Civil War era. These are just a few of the attractions that visitors will find during the 16 days of ChambersFest from Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 31, in Chambersburg.

Now in its 19th year, the event commemorates a unique historic event. On July 30, 1864, Confederate troops burned the central area of Chambersburg after the residents refused to pay a ransom. The festival celebrates the town's rebirth.

It is packed with activities. Some continue for 16 days. Others do not.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, ChambersFest kicks off with the Ray Depuy Memorial Gala Opening and "Party on the Plaza," featuring entertainment, food, a raffle and music. Businesses and restaurants in the downtown area will remain open later than usual.


A reception at the Council for the Arts office will present works by local photographers and the Cumberland Valley Woodturners Club - and a chance to meet the artists. At 8 p.m., Bob Ralston, organist on "The Lawrence Welk Show," will perform at Chambersburg Area Senior High School auditorium.

Saturday, July 16, the busiest day of ChambersFest is jammed with events as part of Celebrate! The Arts at Old Market Day.

The day starts at 7 a.m. with the 17th annual James Humelsine Memorial Volksmarch, a 5K and 10K walk sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Lead Foot Club.

Then at 9 a.m. and continuing until 4 p.m., music to satisfy just about every taste will be performed on three different stages. Take your pick among Civil War-era and Appalachian tunes, or Latin, jazz and rock.

At noon, Kellie Tredo and Joel Mower, dressed in Civil War period clothes, will marry at a Civil War encampment, capped with an arch of sabers as they exit the ceremony.

And at 2 p.m., James Getty will address the crowd as Abraham Lincoln.

Throughout the day, visitors can tour the re-created encampment of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, browse the Festival of Quilts, watch square-dancers, visit baseball exhibit or tour the Old Jail at the Kittochtinny Historical Society and Museum, or explore the wares of more than 200 craft vendors on Lincoln Way and Main Street.

Other highlights include the fifth annual Summer Jam, a day for kids, including face painting, a basketball shootout, and horse rides, a pet parade, the "Almost Anything Goes Games," featuring local business teams competing in off-the-wall games, the second annual fun run/walk and concerts.

The closing event, from July 27 to 31, will be a series of Civil War talks and tours on "The Hidden Gettysburg," with Civil War historians.

Throughout ChambersFest, weary visitors can settle into decorated rocking chairs, tour the Chambersburg Heritage Center and view the work of local artists at the Council for the Arts Gallery.

The majority of the ChambersFest events are organized by the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Council on the Arts. For more information, call the Chamber at 1-717-264-7101 or the Council at 1-717-264-6883. Also, information can be found online at

ChambersFest schedule of events

Friday, July 15

  • 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. - "Baseball in Franklin County" exhibit and tours of the Old Jail at the Kittochtinny Historical Society and Museum, 75 E. King St. Free. Call 1-717-264-1667.

  • Noon to 8 p.m. - Festival of Quilts, Falling Spring Presbyterian Church Family Life Center, 221 N. Main St. Free. Call 1-717-264-6323.

  • 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Meet artists at an exhibit reception at the Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg. Free. Call 1-717-264-6883.

  • 6:30 p.m. - Ray Depuy Memorial Gala Opening of ChambersFest and "Party on the Plaza" on Memorial Square. Free. Five hundred Chamber dollars will be raffled; tickets are $5. Call 1-717-264-7101.

  • 8 p.m. - Bob Ralston concert at the Chambersburg Area Senior High School Auditorium, 511 S. Sixth St. Reserved seat tickets are $15 for orchestra, $13 for main floor, and $11 for the balcony. Call 1-717-264-6883.

Saturday, July 16

  • 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. (finish by 2 p.m.) - 17th annual James Humelsine Memorial Volksmarch 5K and 10K walk, Chambersburg Area Middle School parking lot. The walk is free; for those who want IVV credit, the fee is $3. Call 1-717-263-8633.

  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Celebrate! The Arts At Old Market Day. Vendors on Lincoln Way and Main Street and appearances by The Monkey Man, Uncle Sam on Stilts and James Getty as Abraham Lincoln.

Free ongoing concerts at three venues. Call 1-717-264-6883.

  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Civil War encampment; at 12:15 p.m., a Civil War wedding at United Towers Park. Free. Call 1-717-264-3478.

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Festival of Quilts continues.

Sunday, July 17

  • 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. - Summer Jam 2005. Mike Waters Memorial Park on Second Street. Free. Call 1-717-264-7101.

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