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Thousands browse, buy and binge at Shippensburg Corn Festival

August 27, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER/Staff Correspondent

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa - Thousands of area residents and tourists filled Shippensburg on Saturday to browse, buy and binge at the 26th annual Shippensburg Corn Festival.

Mike Smith, president of the Corn Festival Committee, estimated 40,000 people would "filter through" the festival by 5 p.m.

Melissa Landry, a vendor from Lebanon, Pa., believes the festival's reputation as one of Pennsylvania's best is responsible for drawing the large crowd.

"I heard nice things about the amount of traffic you get at this festival," Landry said.

In addition to the 40,000 people attending the festival, more than 300 vendors lined the streets with white tents to sell their wares. Selling everything from pottery to popcorn, Smith said the lines of vendors stretched over 1 1/2 miles.

Many vendors came to the festival for the first time Saturday.

"We added 80 new vendors this year," Smith said.

Jodi Sowers of Lewisberry, Pa., sold her handmade clay creations at the Shippensburg Corn Festival for the first time Saturday.

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"I was amazed," Sowers said. "I heard there would be a lot of people at this thing. They weren't kidding."

Like many festivals, the Shippensburg Corn Festival is a fundraiser.

"The money we raise goes back to the town," Smith said. "Usually, we generate about $25,000 in profits from just this festival."

This year, a significant portion of the money raised by the festival will be used to help restore the Locust Grove Cemetery. According to Smith, the cemetery is the resting place of many Native American and African-American War veterans.

"They came to us and asked for help," Smith said.

Each year, the committee chooses a project to receive a portion of the festival's profits.

As well as adding many new vendors to their growing list, the Corn Festival Committee made many changes to the festival this year, Smith said.

"We enhanced the entertainment by staggering ministages around the festival so you can shop and enjoy entertainment at the same time," Smith said. "We also added an agricultural display to showcase corn."

The Shippensburg Corn Festival is held annually in downtown Shippensburg on the last Saturday in August.

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