Kick off the fall season with Franklin County’s Fall Festival Season at Mercersburg’s 40th Annual Townfest and save the date for a festival every weekend through October. Try finding your way out of one of Franklin County’s corn mazes—Stoner’s Dairy Farm on Oelig Road in Mercersburg or Country Creek Corn Maze on Etter Road in Chambersburg. Fall is fabulous in Franklin County.
Saturday, September 28, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Downtown Mercersburg
More than 8,000 people are expected to attend this year’s 40th annual Mercersburg Townfest. The event, hosted by the Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce, features more than 120 crafters, artisans, culinary and local vendors, entertainment from community and school bands, with a children’s fun section on the grounds of the Mercersburg Elementary School.
Waynesboro’s Market Day – Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Crisp fall weather brings Mainstreet’s annual Market Day, always on the first Saturday in October. The event features all-day entertainment, including live music, dancing demonstrations, sidewalk sales, children’s activities and dozens of craft, specialty and food vendors. Entries in the annual Scarecrow Contest are displayed along Main Street lamp posts.
Mercersburg Beer & Wine Festival – Saturday, October 5, 2019
Enjoy plenty of room to spread-out and enjoy some great samplings, food, and entertainment. Hosted by the Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce at the Mercersburg Lions Club Park at 405 S. Park Ave. in Mercersburg. Gates for regular admission open at 1 PM and close at 5 PM. VIP Entry into the park will be at Noon The Mercersburg Beer and Wine Festival will offer an impressive array of 5+ wineries and vintners and 15+ Breweries with 30+ craft beers. Parking is FREE at the event. This is a rain or shine festival. Click here to purchase tickets.
Several competitors turned out Aug. 31 in an attempt to win the coveted golden corn plaque, $50 and bragging rights. The Shippensburg Corn Festival held its annual Corn-Eating Contest in front of the Main Stage on Earl Street once again on the last Saturday in August. It was a day for reigning champs to defend their titles, returning contestants to try to beat their own records and first-timers who had no clue what they were getting into!
The MidLife Cowboys wrote a brand new song to sing for the 3 minutes of this year’s contest, as mouths and kernels flew to the beat. “I’m in my first contest at the Ship Fest, I’m hoping to win, and I will do my best. I got all my cobs lined up and I’m downing it with my Solo cup. If I’m lucky, I won’t throw up!” they sang.
Judges watched in awe as the contestants put away ear after ear of corn, laughing as the kernels flew and stuck to the corn-testants’ cheeks and lips. Some turned the ears as they quickly took in mouthfuls of the sweet yellow kernels. Others used the typewriter method to clear their cobs. Police Chief Meredith Dominick timed the contest, and alerted the band when the 3 minutes were up. At the end, Bryan Rottkamp had put away 16 ears of corn, earning him the title of champion. Rottkamp came in second place last year, beaten by Trevor Woolwine, who ate 12 ears to win the contest.
Woolwine was among the corn-testants again this year to defend his title. As was John Sumoski of Shippensburg, who won the plaque two years ago.
Sumoski came in second this year with 12 ears of corn. Woolwine had an “ear-off” with another contestant, Matt Engel, to determine the third place winner after they both ate 11 ears. Engel came out on top after eating an additional four ears of corn in 30 seconds.
Woolwine was supported by his fellow teammates from the Shippensburg University swim team. After the contest, he said he was shooting to eat three more ears than last year. “I was trying to get first again, but I ate too much this time,” he laughed. “I had a big egg sandwich for breakfast.” Woolwine said he wasn’t happy with the judges this year, and plans to return again next year.
After the contest, Rottkamp said he isn’t quite sure how he was able to eat 16 ears this year, up from last year’s dozen. “I don’t know,” he laughed. “I just kept on eating. You just don’t stop!” Rottkamp said he had no idea how many ears he had eaten until the contest was over. His advice for future contestants? “Don’t eat breakfast!” he quipped. Rottkamp said he will be back next year to defend his title. His winnings are going right back into his college education at Shippensburg University.
“I want to thank Shippensburg for this awesome event! It’s a good day,” Rottkamp said.
First-time corn-testant Edwin Cordero of Harrisburg struggled during parts of the contest, with a mouthful of corn. While he didn’t win, he did eat eight ears of corn, which is pretty good for a newbie. “I will definitely do it again,” he said, smiling. “Next time, I will better prepare myself!”
Special thanks to CTA Denise Bonura for the recap of Cornfest 2019.
Save the Date for the next Corn Festival: August 29, 2020
Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) showcases fresh food and great dining in Franklin Fresh Food & Dining Guide. Franklin County has an abundance of freshness to share. The county ranks second in vegetable production in the state, is home to the Chambersburg peach, and yields 850 million pounds of milk annually. With such a variety of fresh foods, foodies love Franklin County.
Franklin Fresh Food & Dining Guide includes listings of farm stands, farmers markets, and honey producers plus a guide to local restaurants. The publication is a great way to plan a “foodie tour” of Franklin County and take home some of the fresh foods from farmers markets, cheese makers, and creameries to enjoy a little longer. The 2019-2020 Franklin Fresh Food & Dining Guide includes a “Sweet Trail,” highlighting ice cream, chocolate and candy stops across the county. It even throws in a few favorite recipes, ways to eat more plant-based meals, and tips on growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Franklin County’s agricultural past is showcased in the Cumberland Valley Bank Barn and the new Stitches in Time Barn Quilt Trail, both topics of the newest edition of Franklin Fresh. Food is an essential part of every trip, and Franklin County food is a reason to visit. Plan ahead by checking out the publication online here. Or, contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060 to receive a printed publication.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) is holding a Tourism Summit at the 11/30 Visitors Center on September 26, 8 AM to Noon. It will recap FCVB’s first year in the new visitors center, look ahead to 2020, and provide tourism partners an opportunity to share highlights of their organization or business. The goal is to share and learn and expand the footprint of tourism in Franklin County.
Keynote speaker Mickey Schaefer will present Driving Tourism Through Quality Experience. The presentation will help summit participants to understand strategies to make visitors experiences better. A good visitor experience is the way to bring more visitors, return visitors, and increase spending throughout the county. Schaefer is the founder of The EXPERIENCE Institute, a companion of the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program, and is an inductee into the Events Industry Council’s Hall of Fame.
Tourism brings $350 million in visitors spending to Franklin County’s economy and generates nearly $1 million in room tax that supports heritage, culture, agricultural and recreational vitality. To frame tourism’s importance and integrated value in both an economic and quality of life perspective, a panel discussion will follow the keynote. Panelists include Mike Ross of Franklin County Area Development Corporation, Katie Hess of South Mountain Partnership, Matthew Ross of Southcentral PA Works, Janet Pollard of Franklin County Visitors Bureau, and Mickey Schaefer.
The public, non-profits, and tourism-related or tourism-supporting businesses are welcome. There is no charge to register. Contact FCVB at 717.552.2977 or visit Eventbrite to register.
The Stitches in Time Barn Quilt Trail is the newest project of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau. Barn quilts are wooden signs, painted with representations of quilt blocks. The concept was originally designed 18 years ago in Ohio where they were mounted on barns, hence the name. Today, these brightly colored blocks are found on barns, businesses, houses, churches or even garden sheds.
Barn quilts have been organized into trails that can be followed, like a scavenger hunt, and have become a huge boost to tourism. Organized trails are found in 43 states and spreading rapidly. The largest one in PA is found in nearyby Fulton County. The Frontier Barn Quilt Trail, was only organized about 6 years ago, and now boasts approximately 203 sites. Bus tours, road rallies, or private care trips are popular – just go to the website and download their maps.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau “Stitches in Time Barn Quilt Trail” will launch in the upcoming weeks. FCVB is in the process of painting the first 30 squares. The average size is 4 -t, some are 2 and 3-ft. square, and the largest is to 8-ft., particularly when the site is viewed from a distance.
Learn more about the Barn Quilt Trail here.
Special thanks to Franklin County CTA Linda Hartman for authoring the story about the Franklin County Stitches in Time Barn Quilt Trail. Linda is an avid member of the Chambersburg Quilt Guild and approached the Franklin County Visitors Bureau in 2016 about the possibilities of a county-wide barn quilt trail.
Pete Mason is as surprised as anyone to be retired and living the active volunteer life in Franklin County. Just a little more than five years ago, he was ready to enjoy restful days in his and his wife’s New Jersey home, on the outskirts of New York City. It was a long way from where he began.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Pete says he remembers he couldn’t wait to leave. “They taught the three Rs – Reading, (w)Riting and Route 29 to Milwaukee.” He went to college in Minnesota where he met his wife. They married a week after their graduation, then headed for Milwaukee. “I worked for First Wisconsin National Bank for a few years and [eventually] got a job at a company called Wacker-Neuson and they transferred me to New Jersey, which was a terrific culture shock.”
As a sales manager in the Northeast, Pete traveled and discovered a lifelong interest. “I’m a history nut! In my job, I left on Monday and came back Friday. Whatever town I was in – Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh – I was usually with one sales person and we would go out at night to check out the area, look for the history of the area, discover what made people tick, and determine why they would buy something from us. In different markets, the various ways people do things is interesting.”
At 68½ years old, Pete decided to retire. The couple had no further plans, but they began looking at their retirement income and the taxes in New Jersey. “We had some friends that lived here [Penn National] and they had a New Year’s party. We didn’t know where this was, but went to the party. We liked the area, bought a lot, built a house and now we’re happy. In fact, we just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary a month ago and we had our motto put on the cake ‘Who’d of thought?’
The itch to learn more about an area was one of the reasons Pete became a CTA. His best experience was accompanying a bus tour as a guide. The tour made a stop at Monterrey Pass. “I was really excited about it; it was a lot of fun. I studied up. The people on the tour had no idea the magnitude of what happened with this part of the retreat [after the battle of Gettysburg], the battle between the two armies there or the part George Armstrong Custer played in the battle. Approximately 10,000 soldiers fought on that little narrow road. The new one room museum is very nice. It’s surprising, but Monterrey Pass is one of the best kept secrets around.”
What’s next on his list as a CTA? “Janet [Pollard] wants me to take the test [Gettysburg battlefield guide exam], which isn’t until next year. I might just do it for my own interest. It’s on my bucket list.
Said like a true Certified Tourism Ambassador.
Special thanks to CTA Dianna Heim,Director of Strategic Relationship Development, for contributing this CTA spotlight.