Old Market Day, Restaurant Week among many features at ChambersFest
While Old Market Day doesn’t last more than seven hours, several months of preparation go into the event and Lisa Myers knows every little thing that goes into that formula.
The process has become a labor of love for Myers, coordinator at the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg (Pa.), who serves as the lead organizer for one of the largest attractions during the week-long ChambersFest that runs from Saturday, July 13 through Saturday, July 20.
“I absolutely love what I do,” said Myers, who begins her prep work in December for the annual July event that fills the streets of downtown Chambersburg with music, food, arts and crafts. Old Market Day will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 20.
Downtown Chambersburg holds a special place in Myers’ heart as she operated Merle Norman Cosmetics on Main Street for 30 years. During that time she volunteered with ChambersFest and built strong ties with the community.
Old Market Day, which Myers has been responsible for coordinating for the past three years, is a day she marks on her calendar for more than just one reason. She gave birth to her daughter Maggie on Old Market Day in 1991.
“I hated to miss it,” Myers half-jokingly said.
Each December, Myers begins her quest in search of vendors for Old Market Day. This involves Myers traveling to craft fairs and other events to recruit.
“Getting the word out is important,” said Myers, who also coordinates downtown Chambersburg events such as IceFest, AppleFest, First Fridays and the Christmas parade.
Unlike some other craft shows, Myers is strict on the makeup of vendors for Old Market Day.
For example, she may limit soap vendors to just 10 and only allow handmade items.
“There are no commercial items and we try to limit vendors that sell the same item because we want everyone that comes to do good business,” Myers said. “It challenges you because sometimes we have to turn people away.”
There are 125 vendors signed up for Old Market Day and that number could increase in the days leading up to the event, according to Myers.
She pointed out that there are several jewelry vendors slated for the event and each bring something “completely unique” to Old Market Day.
Two key attractions will be a mechanical bull ride at the end of South Main Street and a bounce house that is donated by AE Bounce House Rentals.
While Myers shoulders planning responsibilities, she thanks sponsor F&M Trust for not only partnering for the event, but supplying at least a dozen of volunteers.
“I have quite a passion for this downtown. You make a lot of friends over the years,” Myers said.
Now in its 33rd year, ChambersFest will also host a variety of community events including Restaurant Week, Scoop-a-Palooza, Tim & Susan Cook Memorial Race and 1864: The Burning. Each activity is coordinated by various organizations with the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce promoting the festival throughout the region.
“ChambersFest is one of the most exciting community celebrations in Chambersburg, and we are happy to see many local businesses participating this year,” said Steve Christian, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “The event will attract thousands to the region, and we encourage our local residents to take the time to enjoy the festival that supports our local, small businesses.”
Thirty-two restaurants participate in Restaurant Week by offering either a meal deal or special cuisine to patrons from July 13-20. The restaurants are open their regular business hours during the week, and patrons can enter to win more than $300 in prizes by posting photos on social media.
“We have amazing restaurants in the Chambersburg area, and we designed Restaurant Week to allow the business owners the freedom to choose what they would like to offer patrons during ChambersFest,” said Lark Kennedy, communications and marketing manager for the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce.
She added that some restaurants feature special price points, unique flavors and Chambersburg-themed dishes during Restaurant Week.
“As a result, we have many residents and visitors planning to dine out throughout the week, and we expect these restaurants to see a significant spike in sales during ChambersFest,” Kennedy said.
Here’s the full list of restaurants: Big Oak Café, Brussels Café, CJ’s BBQ Smokehouse, Denim Coffee Company, Fuddruckers, Johnnie’s Family Restaurant, Main Street Deli & Catering, Molly’s Restaurant & Carry Out, Montezuma’s (Lincoln Way East and Wayne Avenue locations), Roy-Pitz Beer Stube, The Block Fitness Studio Bar, The Meadows Frozen Custard, The Orchards & Relax Lounge, SpringHill Suites, Chris’s Kitchen, Falafel Shack, Jai Thai Restaurant, India Café, INKA Kitchen, Korean Bulgogi House, Mario’s Italian Restaurant, Mrs. Gibbles Restaurant, Red Lobster, Rice & Pho, Square1, Veroni Café, Volcano Japanese Restaurant and Waffle House.