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Chambersburg celebration stops traffic

July 16, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER / Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

From the outside, Celebrate! The Arts at Old Market Day in Chambersburg is a traffic nightmare.

One local woman declared that this might be the "only place in the country" that would dare close down the intersection of two major highways on a weekend.

But on the inside of those orange traffic cones, the town was alive with a sense of community. With a general consensus hailing the event as "fabulous," thousands of residents and tourists filled the streets of Chambersburg on Saturday to enjoy music, food and fun.

What began in 1982 as a small celebration on the square has overtaken almost five blocks of downtown Chambersburg, closing parts of U.S. 11 and U.S. 30.

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Rosalie Lidard, coordinator of the Downtown Business Council, said that Celebrate! The Arts at Old Market Day is the work of a partnership between the Chambersburg Downtown Business Council and the Chambersburg Council for the Arts.

Each year, as part of Chambersfest, the two organizations combine to put on the celebration, which she said "keeps growing."

Ann Wagner, chairwoman for the event, estimated that nearly 200 vendors purchased space this year to sell handmade crafts and fresh food, while Anne Finucane, program coordinator for the Council for the Arts, estimated that almost 10,000 people would attend.

As residents walked into the square, the aroma of roasted meat and the sounds of an amplified guitar greeted them.

For some, the food was overwhelming.

"I like the food," said Jorge "Coco" Bustamante, percussionist for Latin Flavor. "You have beef, pork ... wow!"

Based in Washington, D.C., Latin Flavor featured a Latin/jazz sound played by members who hail from Peru, Bolivia and Los Angeles.

Excited to play at the festival, flutist Arch Thompson commented on the local appreciation of music.

"People just appreciate music more on the East Coast," the Los Angeles native said.

Residents indulged not only their love of the arts on Saturday, but also their love of history.

James Getty, a resident of Gettysburg, Pa., came to the event as former president Abraham Lincoln. A living historian, Getty greeted visitors and gave an intimate presentation as the beloved president. Many who attended his presentation commented on how, at times, they even forgot that Getty was not Lincoln.




If you go



What: Chambersfest

When:Today through July 30

Where: Various locations throughout Chambersburg, Pa.

For a schedule of events, go to www.hmloop.com.

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