As 38 tons of ice took shape at Chambersburg’s 20th IceFest, Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) invited more than 300 local businesses, non-profits, tourism partners, and municipalities to join a county-wide effort to celebrate America250PA. During the special IceFest Mixer, co-hosted by Cumberland Valley Business Alliance, FCVB focused attention on America250PA, Pennsylvania’s commemoration of the semiquincentennial of America.
Jaclyn Victor, America250PA director of partnerships and engagements, asked Franklin Countians to help make 2026 E.P.I.C. Epic is an acronym for educate, preserve, innovate, and celebrate and embodies the spirit of Pennsylvania’s celebration.
As one of the original colonies of America, Pennsylvania is the literal birthplace of American freedom. With many stories, contributions, and dreams to share in the celebration, the Commonwealth formed a commission in 2018 to coordinate the statewide commemoration. America250PA is dedicated to celebrating the history and diversity of the Commonwealth and to recognizing Pennsylvania’s essential contributions to America—past, present, and future.
AmericaPA250 is pairing the Liberty Bell and art to create Bells Across Pennsylvania. Local artists will execute their designs to celebrate the semiquincentennial in their locale. Another statewide effort brings attention to Liberty Trees, the gathering place of colonial Patriots during the Revolutionary War.
All 67 counties of Pennsylvania have an opportunity to be part of the commemoration and highlight contributions to Pennsylvania and the nation. The Franklin County Commissioners adopted a resolution to support America250PA on September 8, 2021. FCVB is leading the effort to build awareness of America250. Anyone with a connection to Franklin County, present or past, is invited to join the effort. Share the commemoration, formally adopt a resolution, sponsor an event, or share ideas to make 2026 truly epic.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more…plan a visit soon at ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com or by contacting 866.646.8060.
The South Mountain Partnership (SMP) is excited to announce a new collaboration with The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). SMP is launching the Friends of South Mountain Partnership – a Project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, fiscal sponsor, that allows for membership and tax deductible donations to further the cause of the partnership.
The SMP is a regional, landscape-scale conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania launched in 2006 to envision and secure a sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. TFEC was established in 1920 as The Greater Harrisburg Foundation as an organization “to support community members seeking to create long-lasting, meaningful impact.” TFEC handles donated assets and creates permanent funds, investment, and grantmaking for the benefit of local nonprofits in the region, and inspires giving by partnering with donors to achieve their charitable goals, and strengthens our local communities by investing in them now, and for future generations.
Janet Pollard, Executive Director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and a member of the SMP Leadership Committee said that “The Foundation For Enhancing Communities opens a new door for the South Mountain Partnership by bringing more exposure to its work and vastly increasing the Partnership’s relationship-building capacity through the Friends Group, while growing recognition throughout southcentral PA.”
“I am thrilled to launch the Friends of the South Mountain Partnership for many reasons, one of which is financial,” said SMP Director, Katie Hess. “To ensure the partnership is a resilient and powerful force for good in our region, our Friends group will start by offering memberships and securing tax deductible donations from interested individuals and businesses, and will soon launch a corporate sponsorship program. Our first and only consistent source of funding since 2006 has come from competitive grants submitted for the Commonwealth’s Environmental Stewardship Fund through Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. However, that special fund is consistently threatened for redistribution into Pennsylvania’s general fund during annual budget negotiations. Residents in our region deserve more investment, not less, and we will continue to help attract sustainable investment to the region.”
“Another reason is embodied by our tag line of ‘one million people, one future.’ The future quality of life and wealth of our children and communities depends on the work that we do right now to conserve our landscape resources, create vibrant communities, share a common sense of place, and collaborate on well-planned growth and sustainable economic development. We will continue to come together to build community and investments that are based on this region’s natural strengths and carried out in sustainable ways.”
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.