Outdoors was cold, but inside Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) was keeping everyone warm and cozy with the first A Cappella & Unplugged Open Mic at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center. The Open Mic began the eighth year of the musical competition. Held in the Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center, overlooking the square of Chambersburg, an audience of ninety-six enjoyed fifteen performances. All performers sang a cappella or carried instruments onstage and performed unplugged. Performers vie to win the grand prize of $500 and a chance to sing on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse immediately before the 1864 Rebirth of Chambersburg event on July 16, 2022.
The first A Cappella & Unplugged Open Mic of 2022 passed through seven performers to Round 1. Round 1 is set for June 4 at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Chambersburg. The acts moving on in the competition are Willeby Hayes, Bekah Foster, K. Kamplain, Sullivan Shaffer, Whispering Creek Bluegrass, Mariam Mason, and Survive the Conspiracy.
FCVB invites performers to join upcoming A Cappella & Unplugged Open Mics on February 23, 7 PM-9 PM, at 633 Brewing Co. on Walnut Street in Waynesboro and March 24, 6 PM-8 PM, at TBC Brewing on 3rd Street in Chambersburg. Two more open mics will be set in April and May.
Franklin County joined the Civil War Trails with the unveiling of “Flashpoint of Invasion.” The sign, located outside the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, is the newest Civil War Trails sign along the Pennsylvania segment of the trail, which came to life with a half-dozen story boards in 2021.
Franklin County’s location, access to rail, and an abundance of crops and livestock made the county a prime target during the Civil War. Even before war, Franklin County’s location played a role. The county held a network of secret passages and many operatives, who helped escaping enslaved move to safety. Again, location played a role in Franklin County’s history when John Brown and his men established a northern headquarters in Chambersburg. With access to the Cumberland Valley Railroad, Brown and his men stockpiled weapons throughout the spring and summer, leading up to the Raid on Harpers Ferry in October 1859.
“Flashpoint of Invasion” serves as a gateway to exploring Chambersburg and Franklin County. More than two dozen Franklin County sites are identified as Civil War Trail stories, as the Franklin County Visitors Bureau works to secure funding to install the signs. The Civil War Trails program is recognized by travelers, particularly those seeking authentic experiences and local history. History travelers are getting younger and these travelers, age 25-34, are the largest growing segment. Many travelers are pairing their interest in history with recreation and locally sourced food and beverages.
The Foundation For Enhancing Communities (TFEC) funded “Flashpoint of Invasion” as part of its 100-year celebration and is funding a second Civil War sign in 2022. TFEC focuses on building strong communities for a lasting impact.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau is hosting Sharing Strength, an exhibit of Franklin County breast cancer survivors. Since 1985, October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sharing Strength will be on display throughout October 2020 in the lobby of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center on the square of Chambersburg.
Holly Baker Strayer, one of the survivors, shared her story of strength. “Your cancer journey is what you choose to do with it. You learn about yourself and what you’re capable of through times of adversity.” She goes on to say, “Take care of yourself…Slow down…Do things that make you happy…”
Any cancer survivor inspires others to find courage. Breast cancer is particularly pertinent to women because the most significant risk factors for breast cancer are sex (being a woman) and age (growing older). Be proactive. Do self-examinations, eat healthy, and be active. According to a 2020 national study by the American Cancer Society, breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2017 among women, but incidences of breast cancer are slightly higher by 3%. Potential factors for the small increase may correlate to obesity and less fertility.
The Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center serves visitors and residents of Franklin County and is located at 15 South Main in downtown Chambersburg. Sharing Strength is just one of 11/30 Visitors Center’s exhibits and events throughout the year. For more information, visit ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com regularly or contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060 for information on 11/30 Visitors Center activities.
Calling all picture takers to Franklin County PA for the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s Photo Contest. The buds of spring are popping into leaves, so, grab a camera and enter your best shots. The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) is seeking a shot of the new 11/30 Visitors Center for the cover of its 2019-2020 Franklin County Visitors Guide. The new 11/30 Visitors Center is located at 15 South Main, on the southwest corner of Chambersburg’s square and next to Central Presbyterian Church. The photographer of the shot selected for the cover image will win $250. Photos of the 11/30 Visitors Center must be submitted by May 20, 2019.
In addition to the cover photo for the Franklin County Visitors Guide, FCVB is seeking cover images for:
On the Move in Franklin County Rec Guide
Franklin Fresh Food & Dining Guide
Franklin County Military Trail of History
Franklin County Wedding & Event Planner
The photographer of the cover image for these publications will win $100. All photos for these publications must be submitted by July 15, 2019.
Photographers can opt to be part of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center Photography Exhibit by submitting an 8”x10” print. FCVB will be displaying submitted photos, beginning May 20 and running through July 20, 2019. So, not only is there a chance to win hundreds in cash, it is an opportunity to showcase your photography at the 11/30 Visitors Center.
Details, rules, and necessary forms of the FCVB 11/30 Visitors Center Photography Contest are available online here or by calling 866.646.8060 or 717.552.2977.
The new Franklin County 11/30 Visitor Center was the site of the 8th Annual “Power of the Partnership breakfast, coordinated by the South Mountain Partnership in early February. Franklin County Commissioners David Keller, Robert Thomas, and Robert Ziobrowski welcomed over 130 attendees from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York Counties, highlighting the historic, agricultural, and recreational value of the county they represent.
The South Mountain Partnership is one of seven landscape initiatives in Pennsylvania, which support investment and action around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects. Cindy Dunn, Secretary of PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), spoke to the value of the state’s conservation landscape efforts and the success of the South Mountain Partnership (SMP), often a model of the effort.
Suzanne Dixon, CEO and President of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), shared ATC’s new initiative–the Wild East. The Wild East brings greater attention to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the lands surrounding the 2,192-mile footpath. Both the Wild East and South Mountain landscapes are efforts to secure access to open, natural spaces and the historic, cultural, and aesthetic assets they bring.
The breakfast program focused on profiles of action along the South Mountain landscape, including Franklin County’s collective actions to oppose a 230KV, double line transmission project, proposed by Transource PA and slated to traverse more than 29 miles of the county. Speaking were Lori Rice of the Franklin County Stop Transource community group. Lori, a business owner and farm wife, discussed the impacts on the watershed, karst system, agricultural land, and the community culture of Franklin County. Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corporation, addressed Franklin County’s balanced approach to development and the reasons FCADC did not support the project, noting the county approach to economic development and citing the zero-value of the project to PA.
The South Mountain Partnership awarded six 2018 Mini Grants, totaling $50,000. The grant program commenced in 2009 and has supported more than 60 projects, awarding $440,000 in funds and leveraging just under $900,000 in matching investment.
Mike Eschenmann, DCNR Internal Lead of South Mountain Partnership, awarded Karen Lutz, recently retired as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of ATC, with the ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ award. The award recognized Lutz’s long-standing efforts to advance the Partnership.
“Throughout our 13-year history, SMP has consistently relied on diverse partners to be the ‘Power’ that positively impacts the South Mountain landscape of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York Counties. The gathering is invaluable as the region seeks to better conserve and manage agricultural, natural, recreational, and historical assets,” said Katie Hess, director of South Mountain Partnership.