A Civil celebration

September 17, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHARPSBURG -- Organizers plan to use "Sharpsburg-isms" to lure crowds to Sharpsburg Heritage Festival on Saturday.

Meredith Poffenberger and Natoma Vargason organized events based on two Sharpsburg-isms that could earn people prizes: residents' claims of relation to Capt. Riley Bender; and a resident's (or restaurant's) pronouncement of having made the best steak-and-cheese sandwich ever.

Sharpsburg Heritage Festival is a celebration of the town's history and will showcase regional bands, craft vendors and food. Organizers will return the event back to its street-festival roots, staging events in and around Sharpsburg's Town Square. Last year's event took place at Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. grounds.

When it was a street festival, Sharpsburg Heritage Festival drew 2,000 to 3,000 attendees, but crowds have dwindled to a couple hundred, Vargason said. The Sharpsburg Historical Society has hosted the event for years but decided not to this year, said Vargason, who's on the historical society's programming board.


"We couldn't let it die," Vargason said.

Sharpsburg Heritage Days has a new organizer, the town of Sharpsburg, which has earmarked $1,500 of its hotel-motel tax money to sponsor the event, town councilman and co-organizer Mathew Barnhart said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Sharpsburg Heritage Festival

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

WHERE: Sharpsburg Town Square, at Main Street (Md. 34) and Mechanic Street. Main Street is accessible from Md. 65.

COST: Free admission

MORE: Other activities include a pancake breakfast, a community yard sale, carriage rides, house tours. For the full schedule, go to www.sharpsburgheritagefestival .org .

Street closings

In recognition of the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, the following streets will be closed Saturday, Sept. 19, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.:

Main Street, from Church to Hall Streets

Mechanic Street, from Chapline to Antietam streets

Sharpsburg Heritage Festival highlights

7 to 10 a.m. - Pancake Breakfast, Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co., 110 W. Chapline St. $5

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Artists, vendors and demonstrations, Main Street.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Community yard sale, Sharpsburg Fire Department

9:30 a.m. to 9:40 p.m. - Live music at the North Mechanic Street stage

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Meet local authors at Sharpsburg Public Library, 105 E. Main St.

Noon to 12:25 p.m. - Steak-and-cheese contest entries accepted. Entrants must bring two, already prepared sandwiches: One for display and one for the 12:30 judging. Captain Benders Tavern, 111 E. Main St. $5 to enter.

4 p.m. - Drawing for the Six Degrees of Separation from Capt. Bender contest. To enter, fill out a form to "prove" you're related to Capt. Bender.

7 p.m. Candlelight alley walk. Led by the 2nd Maryland Fife and Drum Corps. Starts at the music tent and continues through Sharpsburg's historic alleys.

9 p.m. to midnight - Kelly Carmichael performs. Captain Benders Tavern, $5.

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