1864 Chambersburg Comes To Life
Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to 1864—a living history portrayal and celebration of the Rebirth of Chambersburg—on July 17, 2021. Nearly 157 years ago, on July 30, 1864, General John McCausland and 2,800 Confederate cavalrymen ransomed Chambersburg for $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in Yankee currency. Chambersburg could not pay the ransom and the town was fired, leaving more than 500 structures in ashes and 2,000 people without homes. Yet, Chambersburg grew out of the ashes of destruction and is once again a thriving community in southcentral Pennsylvania.
“Since the first 1864 event, a common question is: why celebrate a town’s burning?” said Janet Pollard, Executive Director of Franklin County Visitors Bureau, the organization responsible for the annual event. Pollard explained, “1864 celebrates the rebirth of the town and the spirit of the people, who brought Chambersburg to life.”
1864 began as a kick-off event for Civil War 150 in 2011. Partnering with nearby Gettysburg PA, Franklin County highlighted its significant Civil War history. Over the past ten years, the event continued to grow as a celebration of the spirit of people and community.
Join in celebrating the Rebirth of Chambersburg on July 17 with a full day.
- Old Market Day Street Festival, 9AM – 4 P M, throughout downtown Chambersburg with more than 125 craft, food, and art vendors plus music.
- Puppet fun and fan-making for kids at 11/30 Visitors Center, 9 AM – 4 PM
- Civil War Walking Tours, 11 AM – 5 PM, at the 11/30 Visitors Center – FREE
- “Tourist in My Town” Exhibit at Chambersburg Council for the Arts, 103 N. Main, 9 AM-4PM
- A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Art & Storytelling, 1 PM at the 11/30 Visitors Center, followed by a chance to make a little fabric art – FREE.
- Pre-Burning Activities – 6 PM – 7 PM- FREE glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos, face painting, photos with cast of 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth, children’s activities.
- PA Army Reserve Rock Climbing Wall, next to 11/30 Visitors Center, 5:30 PM-8 PM.
- Jim Rada, author & historian, 11/30 Visitors Center, 5:30 PM-8PM
- A Cappella & Unplugged Finals, 7 PM – Final round of the A Cappella & Unplugged competition with winner announced just after 8 PM
- 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth Light Show- 8:45 PM – The re-enactment and light show done completely with atmospheric effects, lights, and actors! Join the thousands that gather to watch as the town is transported back to 1864 and history comes to life.
The Reenactment of the Burning of Chambersburg
July 17, 2021 * 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Downtown Chambersburg as the town is set ablaze to commemorate the day that Chambersburg was held for ransom and then burned.
We celebrate community, rebirth and Chambersburg’s rise from the ashes with a day full of events:
Old Market Day street festival kicks-off at 9:00 AM! Enjoy lots of art, food, crafts, vendors and music!
Visit the 11/30 Visitors Center on the Square throughout the day for book signings, drawings, kids’ activities, giveaway and tours.
Explore the new lobby exhibit: Let the Journey Begin…People, Places & Possibilities all day!
1:00 PM: Come experience Edna Lawrence – a quilt storyteller as she talks about her art and passion for history and people.
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM: The PA Army Nation Guard joins the 11/30 Visitors Center bringing their rock climbing wall Downtown for all those adventurous individuals to endure!
7:00 PM: A Cappella & Unplugged Final Round – the very talented finalists perform for your vote as they sing for a chance to win the big $500 prize!
Just before 9:00 PM: As the sun sets, the history of the 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg
takes the night’s center stage as lights and atmospheric affects so real that bystanders will think they were transported back to 1864!
To learn more about this event and the history, Click Here
Vitality In Progress & Illuminate After Party at the Capitol Celebrate 1864 Rebirth
Be part of an interactive art installation at the Capitol Theatre at 159 S. Main Street in Chambersburg from Wednesday, July 13 through Saturday, July 16, 2016. The installation, called VITALITY in PROGRESS, is free and open to the general public and invites participants to imagine the future and focus of our evolving community through interactive participation. Paint with glow in the dark paints onto a house erected in the black lit Wood Center Stage Theatre inside the Capitol Theatre Center. Great activity for all ages! You are welcome to drop in during the following open hours:
Wednesday, July 13th 10am – 12pm
Thursday, July 14th 2 – 4pm
Friday, July 15th 4 – 6pm
Saturday, July 16th 9pm – 12am
Join us at the ILLUMINATE! After Party on Saturday, July 16 from 9 PM – Midnight immediately after the light show on the Chambersburg square. Admission is free and snacks and adult beverages will be available at an additional cost. Come and participate in the VITALITY in PROGRESS art installation, listen to live music from contestants of A Cappella & Unplugged, and have some fun dancing in the black light or playing karaoke.