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Townfest shows all that Mercersburg has to offer

September 26, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE
  • Mary-Anne Gordon of the Tuscarora Chamber of Commerce and state Sen. Rich Alloway stand with U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, left, as he blows the horn to start Saturday's inaugural One-Mile Race and Fun Run at the 31st Annual Mercersburg Townfest.
By C.J. Lovelace,

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Nestled along the picturesque foothills of the Appalachian Mountains rests a real gem of Franklin County, a local politician said Saturday.

"I love Mercersburg," state Sen. Rich Alloway said during the 31st Annual Mercersburg Townfest. "It's a great event. I come every year, and it's great to bring people into the community and highlight all the businesses we have here. Mercersburg is really a gem in Franklin County."

The festival traditionally draws a crowd of about 5,000 and offers a unique mix of handmade crafts, collectibles, pottery and antiques, among other things.

Delicious scents and smells wafted through the light breeze that swept from end to end of the four-block festival along Seminary Street.

"The food is awesome," said Alloway, a Franklin County native. "I love the food here. It's great."

Alloway and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster served as honorary starters for the Townfest's inaugural one-mile race and fun run to kick off the day's festivities. Thirty people participated in the run.

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"This is small-town America," Shuster said. "It's a tight-knit community and everybody pulls together to make these events happen. It's the fabric of this community."

In addition to the food stands and vendors, patrons were treated to musical entertainment on the town square. And the Kids Corner at Mercersburg Elementary School offered children the chance to paint pumpkins, ride horses or jump on an inflatable bounce.

Brad and Melissa Miller of Chambersburg and their two children, Brandon, 3, and Natalie, 4 months, were one of many families who enjoyed the kids area.

Attending the festival for the second year, the four stood along a path before Brandon took off toward the pumpkin-painting booth.

"(Brandon) wanted to see the pumpkins and the horses again," said Brad, who grew up for several years in the small Franklin County community.

Kelly Schoenberger of the Mercersburg Arts Council said the festival is something to which many in the area look forward.

"Many call it the prettiest place in Franklin County," said Schoenberger, standing with fellow arts council member Ryan Smith, a local artist and musician who lives in Mercersburg and has attended the Townsfest for many years.

"It's really grown since I was a kid," Smith said.

Mary-Anne Gordon, executive director of the Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival, raved about the cool, clear weather and said that it surely helped add to the large list of 130 vendors.

"This year, specifically, the weather brought in about 10 or 20 more at the last minute, because everybody waits for the rain," said Gordon. "Today just happens to be gorgeous."

First-year vendor Sam Spinder of Greencastle, who was busy cooking up sweet-smelling kettle corn before the festival's 9 a.m. start time, was impressed with the turnout.

"It's a really nice small community atmosphere," he said, seated behind his booth with his son, Dave. The duo runs a kettle corn operation as a hobby at local festivals and events.

"It's a community festival because we don't have just vendors; we have local businesses, civic organizations, churches all doing their thing," Gordon said. "It's specifically a celebration of Mercersburg and everything we have to offer."

Results of the One-Mile Race/Fun Run:



Men

Overall: Phil Warton, Willow Hill, Pa. (5:02)

15 and under: Trent Wilson, Greencastle (7:09)

16 to 29: Tyler Shelly, Mercersburg (5:44)

30 to 44: Warton

45 and over: Chip Patterson, Mercersburg (9:30)

Women

Overall: Ellen Strickler, Mercersburg (5:57)

15 and under: Maddie Gilliam, Hagerstown (6:57)

16 to 29: Jenn Bradley, Mercersburg (10:08)

30 to 44: Strickler

45 and over: Shelly Cardone, Mercersburg (7:39)

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