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Parade marks 225th year for Franklin Co.

September 07, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Franklin County 225th Anniversary parade proved to be a mix of new and old, with everything from turn-of-the-century vehicles to cutting-edge veterinary science on display.

One highlight was when the county's namesake, Ben Franklin (as portrayed by Bob Harrison), passed the crowd on the back of a yellow firetruck.

More than 1,000 people gathered under overcast skies in downtown Chambersburg for the Monday morning parade commemorating the county's founding. Later, Harrison and two other men selected to portray Ben Franklin served as emcees for "BenFest" in the Capitol Theatre.

They gave away gift baskets, talked about the founding father's legacy, introduced student musicians, and judged a birthday cake contest. Their favorite dessert from the entries? A fruitcake.

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Several town festivals this year are tied to the 225th celebration, but Monday's festivities were the main event recognizing the county's birth on Sept. 9, 1784. Commemorative coins, books and walking canes are being sold at several locations, including the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Rebecca Nicole Montoro, 7, said before the parade that she was most excited to see baton twirlers. She's practiced with her own baton at home and said the maneuvers are difficult at first.

"When you get used to it, it's easy," she said.

Former Franklin County Commissioner Sam Worley served as grand marshal and led 60 participating groups along the parade route. Included in the mix were the marching bands from Chambersburg Area and Greencastle-Antrim high schools, an FFA float with science demonstrations, the Franklin County Bookmobile, the Wayne Band, a 1909 Overland automobile, antique tractors and the Summit Health bicycle club.

St. Paul United Methodist Church collected food for area food banks.

Leroy Fickes, of Chambersburg, said he heard about the parade from a neighbor and thought it'd be "more or less something to do to get out of the house."

Rebecca and her mother traveled from Shippensburg, Pa., to see the baton twirlers and other parade features. They joined Rebecca's grandmother, Mary Ellen Coldsmith.

"We just came because we could. We all had the day off today," Tracy Montoro said.

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