The Downtown Business Council and Council for the Arts of Chambersburg will present an “Authors and Artists First Friday” from 5-8pm on Friday October 2nd, with sponsorship from Fitzgerald Auto Mall.  For more details, call 717-263-8529 or check the Facebook page of the Downtown Business Council. Artists and authors interested in participating should call 717-816-7568.

Downtown businesses will welcome local authors at October’s First Friday, with writers and illustrators on-site to sign books, give readings and answer questions about their creative process.   From historical fiction to science fiction, children’s books, poetry and a nature journal, the evening’s selections will be a diverse and entertaining mix. First Friday participants can complete a “scavenger hunt” quiz along the authors’ trail to win a $50 gift certificate to their choice of participating business downtown.

Participating authors (in alphabetical order, with their First Friday locations) include:

Joseph Allen’s (Vape House, 133 North Main) recently published collection of free-verse poetry “A Celebration of Venus” is also available at Amazon, in paperback as well as Kindle versions. Described as ‘An essential collection of free verse poetry’, “A Celebration of Venus” offers both dark and uplifting themes.

Waynesboro author Karen Day (Franklin County Visitors Bureau, 37 South Main) currently has two books in print, published under her pen name, KJ McCall. A suspense novel “Set Apart”, published in 2010, ventures into the future (or at least it was when she wrote it) to offer a dark and possible picture of National Health Care.  Her second novel, “Eighteen in 1942”, is World War II-era historical fiction inspired by a shocking true event. Born in the mountains of Virginia, the author’s career was spent in federal government service as an information systems specialist and technical writer, the last fourteen years with Department of Health and Human Services.  KJ owns her own publishing company, JJ Publishers; more information is available at

Mont Alto author Becky Dietrich (Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main) will present four books: “Once Upon a Life”, personal memoirs from her travels around the world; “Artists of the Cumberland Valley 1976-1995”; “Stories of the Summit Plateau and Beyond in the Valley”; and “Mont Alto Sampler”.

Mike Gavazzi (Lotus Moon, 27 North Main) will present his original graphic novel, “Opaque: A Journey in Spirit”.  Michael has been a master’s level teacher of American History for the past eighteen years. Encouraged by his early success with “Opaque”, he has been selling prints of his art on his website ( and on the web markets Etsy and Fine Art America, while working on the follow-up graphic novel to “Opaque”.

 Margaret Gsell (Ludwigs Jewelers, 121 South Main) enjoys recognition as both a painter and a poet.  After studying at the Maryland Institute of Art, she worked for many years for NASA, developing friendships with several astronauts, while designing the patches used to commemorate the Gemini space flights. Since that time she has had many displays of her artwork, and continues to paint and teach watercolor at age 90.  Her hope-filled verse, collected in her booklet “The Little Leaf”, is featured during her stints as radio co-host on the closed circuit TV station that is seen across the campuses of Menno Haven retirement community in Chambersburg. Her subjects range from personal experiences to inspiring sights, such as a beautiful rose on the Menno Haven campus.

Robin Hurst (Here’s Lookin’ at You, 123 South Main), author of a newly published children’s coloring book “How Can I Choose” will offer a character look-a-like contest; those wishing to enter can check out her character Gracie at, and enter the contest via the Downtown Business Council facebook page.

Author Judy Polidor (Merle Norman, 127 South Main) has written “Love Seeds”, which is a collection of simply written, thought-provoking essays embracing hope, humor, and healing, with space for personal journaling. A selection entitled “Time Thief”, has this recommendation:  “Some things that steal our time can be listed as worry, dread, fear…you get the picture or can fill in the blank. A remedy that works like a charm is to get a timer and set aside 15 minutes (or 30 if you’re a glutton for punishment). Pour your energy into this time you have set aside, and then go on about the day.”

Ronald Powers (Gartenberg Jewelry, 133 South Main) will offer his book “One Man in Ten Million”, the story of his father’s service during WWII with the 104th Infantry Regiment, a part of the 26th Yankee Division attached to Patton’s infamous Third Army. Subsequent books include “Wrong Bus” and its sequel “Redemption”, now in progress.

 Kathleen Renninger’s (Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main) “Pages From a Nature-Lover’s Diary” is a compilation of sketches, notes, and original poems from nature sketch diaries kept for almost 30 years by this author and artist from Blue Ridge Summit, PA.  It contains over 130 illustrations and 12 poems.

A retired registered nurse, Anna Rotz (Franklin County Visitors Bureau, 37 South Main Street, Suite 100) lives on Heritage Hill Farm with her husband, Joe, and is well-known for her activities in her church and community of Fort Loudon. Her book, “Heritage Hill Farm Cookbook” is a collection of recipes from her grandmother combined with stories about farm life in the past. “She recorded them in a small notepad,” Anna recalls,  “and I wanted to preserve them for future generations.” Another volume, “Grandma’s Apron Strings”, celebrates grandmothers. “It includes memories of my grandmother,” she continues, “favorite nicknames for grandmothers and quotations from famous people and local third graders about their grandmothers.” It also includes favorite family recipes and comfort foods. “I can still picture grandma’s aprons hanging on the clothesline with the ties/strings flapping in the breeze like angel wings. That inspired the title because grandmothers really are “angels here on earth.” “

Bob Rynecki (Lyons, 83 South Main), a registered nurse and an award-winning paramedic, wrote “The Art of the IV Start” to help nurses and paramedics establish peripheral intravenous lines easily and effectively. Intravenous skills are taught to new employees, but the fine details are often missed or forgotten.

Taking a no-frills approach, Rynecki delivers the tricks and tips that will enable them to become the go-to person for starting difficult IVs, boosting their confidence to succeed on the first stick – almost every time.


Mike Sgrignoli (Courthouse Plaza, 5-7pm) will host a quiz show at 6pm for First Friday participants and local celebrity guests, based on his audio CD “Mr. Mike’s Dino Tales ‘n Tunes”.  Described as  “fun and fact-packed dino-rhymes to tickle your funny bone and stimulate the brain”, the project features interesting stories and facts about dinosaurs, as well as Sgrignoli’s delightful, no-colors-barred, watercolor illustrations.


Chambersburg native William “Buzz” Shank (Olympia Candy Kitchen) served as the Tax Collector for the Borough of Chambersburg for many years, before retiring in 2014. A graduate of Gettysburg College, where he majored in business and minored in history, Buzz entered the U.S. Air Force and served in Germany for three years. A life-long interest in the Civil War prompted Buzz to do a more thorough study of General Meade’s contributions to the war. While Meade is certainly recognized, Buzz considered the writing of the book to be a labor of love for a general who should have received more accolades for his accomplishments during the Civil War.


Virginia Stake (Olympia Candy Kitchen, 43 South Main), author of historical books “John Brown in Chambersburg” and “Forever Gone”; a play, “A Love Divided (with Marcus Steinour); love stories “In the Blink of God’s Eye”; “God Blinks, Things Happen”, and the newly released “1976 – The Journal”, will donate all of her First Friday proceeds to benefit Zion Reform Church, one of Chambersburg’s 3 historic Rose Rent churches.


An evangelist, pastor, and teacher, Barry Robert Starliper (C&C Coffee, 15 North Main) has been in active ministry since the age of fifteen. By the time he graduated from high school he had preached in 36 states. Following seven years as a pastor, he served in youth ministry for two years with Youth for Christ/Campus Life. Reviewer Don Milam says, “As a seasoned student of the Scriptures, Barry writes with a deep understanding of the challenges facing the modern church and a clear presentation of insights into correcting the problem. He draws from his own experience, which keeps the book from becoming too theoretical in nature. Illustrations from the life and words of others corroborate his own experience and insight, with everything presented in a manner that is provocative, yet not preachy.”


Hannah Stephey (Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main) is the illustrator of “The Look Cookers”, a story to inspire children ages 6-10 to overcome their fears – and one that will delight children of all ages with its message and imaginative style. “The Look Cookers” was recently honored with a gold ribbon from the “Mom’s Choice Award” website. Hannah will also discuss her own soon-to-be published children’s book.


Marianne Marrone Weaver (Gift Enclosure, 78 South Main), is the author of “This is What Love Does”, a story about a humble little girl named Dubzee who lives in the Galaxy of Benevolence. It is a beautiful place, surrounded and filled with goodness, until one day, the goodness begins to slip away. Readers will travel with Dubzee on her adventure through the Galaxy of Benevolence, as she uses her gift of Selfless Love to restore the planets—Comfort, Generosity, Respect, Responsibility, Hope, and Kindness—to their natural order.

Susan Whitelock  (Main Street Deli, 33 North Main) is well known in Chambersburg for her involvement with a host of arts and cultural organizations, as well as her past career as a teacher, counselor and educational consultant. What is less known is that she is the author of 4 children’s books!  “A professor in my graduate education program said he hoped to see me write my own book someday,” she explains, “as I absolutely love to read to students. It was an inspiring comment that I tucked away for many years. I made a promise to myself that I would follow through by the time I was 60; I kept that promise and now have written 4 books!”  Susan will sign her books:  “Lucy Loves Life: A Summer Day at the Pond”, “Lucy Loves Life: A Fall Visit to the Farm”, “Lucy Loves Life: A Spring Stroll by the Stream” and  “Lucy Loves Life: A Winter Walk in the Woods” at the October 2nd First Friday event.

Artists will be featured as well at the First Friday: Photography by Robbie and Artworks by Autumn Sullivan will be on view downtown, and the Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main Street, will have on view its ongoing exhibition “Paul Saberin: A Retrospective Exhibit”, displaying works by this highly regarded Chambersburg artist that were created from 1960 to 2015.

For more information about First Friday, please call  (717) 263-8529.