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Crowds pack Chambersburg fest

July 22, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.-Whether it's musical entertainment, arts and crafts or food, there's something about Chambersburg's Celebrate! the Arts at Old Market Day that attracts more than 10,000 people each year.

The 21st annual event kicked off Saturday with musical group "Jammin!" Sweet Adelines Quartet, a local chapter of women's barbershop a cappela singers, on the main stage at Courthouse Plaza.

"I wanted to feature regional talent," said Tresa Paul, program coordinator for the Chambersburg Council for the Arts.

Although Paul only has worked for the council for a year, she has attended the Chambersburg event for 12 years and has performed with her own band, Soleil. The group performed Saturday morning, playing a mix of folk, blues, rock and bluegrass music.

Celebrate! the Arts is part of ChambersFest, a two-week festival commemorating the day downtown Chambersburg was burned - July 30, 1864 - and celebrating its rebirth. It features regional crafters, artisans, musical acts, dancers and actors.

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"It's great - it's been going very well and it's been very busy," said Elisabeth Drake, owner of Placemat Bag Creations.

Drake works out of her home in Harrisburg, Pa., and specializes in handbags made out of place mats.

"If you don't find one you like, you can create your own," she said.

Becky Kauffman and her mother, Kathy Harmon, who own Kauffman's Kreations, came to the event for the second year in a row.

"We actually have friends who are vendors, and that's kind of how we found out about the show," Kauffman said.

The crowd progressed down Lincoln Way and Main Street in Chambersburg to visit more than 150 crafters and artisans, 15 community groups and 30 food vendors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and New York, according to Jennifer Daley, events coordinator for the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg.

"I think it's a great turnout this year," Daley said. "The community is very supportive."

Daley, who began working for the council in February, said the event has a lot of vendors who return each year.

"We really enjoy providing this as a free festival and a reason for people to celebrate downtown Chambersburg," she said.

Angie Cover traveled to Chambersburg from Falling Waters, W.Va. She especially liked the vendors selling their own CDs because they were demonstrating their talent by playing wooden instruments for the crowd.

"We just like to go to different craft shows," she said.

Lori Thompson of Smithsburg attends the event almost every year.

"It's just fun to come here and eat the different foods and walk around and see all the crafts," she said.

For the past 10 years, Trudy Burnes has been a vendor at Old Market Day. She has made doll clothes and shoes at her home-based business in York, Pa., for 27 years.

"I've had a lot of people come today just for the American Girl (doll items)," she said, adding that business was very good for her Saturday.

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