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Shippensburg hosts its annual Corn Festival

August 25, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Shippensburg continued its 27-year tradition of promoting historical preservation and downtown revitalization on Saturday.

The Shippensburg Corn Festival began at 8 a.m., with craft and food vendors stretched along East King Street.

"By 8:30, 9 a.m., we had the street packed wall-to-wall," said Mike Smith, president of the Corn Festival Committee, adding that 40,000 people were present at the festival.

The festival was started in 1981 by the Shippensburg Heritage and Recreation Planning Society.

The idea of a corn festival was chosen because corn was the area's biggest crop.

"It started as an effort to oppose an old building that was being torn down," said Cindy Pimental, a member of the Corn Festival Committee. "This whole festival is about raising money for awareness (about historical preservation)."

"Every $1 we raise, we give back to community," Smith said. "We try to preserve the historic base of Shippensburg."

Along with 300 craft vendors and 40 food vendors, the festival featured live entertainment on two stages, children's activities including a moon bounce and balloon art, an area where children's crafts were on sale, an antique car show and a farm implement show.

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One of the entertainment acts was the Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers, led by Joyce Guthrie.

"We are Appalachian cloggers, (and) we do some progressive," Guthrie said.

Appalachian clogging is performed to more traditional music, such as bluegrass and Irish, and it includes movements such as drag slide clogging, Guthrie said. Progressive clogging has more advanced steps, incorporates a variety of different movements and is performed to more contemporary music, Guthrie said.

"We just love dancing - we perform at fairs, private functions - just about anywhere anyone will ask us to perform," said Jackie Gaskill, who has been involved with the group for nine years.

Megan Canale, Miranda Thiessan and Taylor Koprebich were three of the 22 children selling their crafts in the children's craft area.

Under the name Unique Boutique, the 12-year-olds were selling handmade eye masks, frames, purses, cell phone holders and piggy banks.

"We were just thinking of ideas that would sell," Miranda said.

"We get to hang out the whole day together," Taylor said.

Marie Dentzen of Gettysburg, Pa., said she attends the festival each year.

"They have everything," she said of the craft vendors. "It's not all the same thing - it's a different variety."

Marty Sheaffer of Huntsdale, Pa., came to the festival looking for a wreath. She said it didn't take long to find one.

"There's a lot to choose from, which is nice," she said.

An addition to this year's festival was a corn muffin contest. Contestants submitted 24 muffins of any flavor, along with the recipe, and the judging was done by the public.

Penny Thomas won the contest with her recipe for sweet potato corn muffins. Thelma Dickerson took second place with her recipe for hot muffin corn surprise, and Eddy Parshall earned third place with his recipe for baked corn muffins.

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