Happy birthday, Franklin County

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Franklin County is having a birthday! On Sept. 9, 2009, Franklin County will be 225 years old. What better way to celebrate than with a parade! The Franklin County 225th Anniversary Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 7. Not only is this a milestone year for the county but a great chance for friends and neighbors to get together to remember our successes and build for the future. The Franklin County 225th Commemorative Parade Committee and the Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to come out and enjoy the fun! This opportunity to celebrate and honor the county will not return for another 25 years.

After the parade, the Capitol Theatre will host Benfest. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. with events commencing at 1 p.m. BenFest will celebrate Ben Franklin, our county namesake, and our 225th anniversary. Benjamin Franklin will be there.

Ben-Festivities kick off with the 225th Franklin County Birthday Cake Contest.  Bake your favorite cake recipe and drop off the cake at The Capitol Theatre at 12:30 p.m. (Inquire at the visitors bureau, 709-7204, for early drop-off.)  “The Bens” will taste and judge the cakes.  Winners will be announced at the beginning of BenFest activities.

Ben Fest Schedule: 1 to 1:15 p.m. — Pledge of Allegiance, America The Beautiful, Announcement of the 225th Franklin County Birthday Cake Contest, Happy Birthday, led by Franklin County Commissioners; 1:15 to 1:50 p.m. — Presentation by Ben Franklin, portrayed by Bob Harrison, Oldest Person Contest, Youngest Person Contest; 1:50 to 2 p.m. — Performance of Ben Franklin musical piece by students of the Chambersburg High School Concert Band; 2 to 2:35 p.m. — Presentation by Ben Franklin, portrayed by Michael Levick, Man with the longest beard contest, woman with the longest hair contest; 2:40 to 3:15 p.m. — Presentation by Ben Franklin, portrayed by Robert Fox, person with the birthday closest to Ben's contest, person with birthday closest to Franklin County's Founding Contest (All contest winners will receive a Best of Franklin County basket.); 3:15 to 4 p.m. — Enjoy birthday cake, a chance to talk one on one with Ben and have your photograph taken with Ben. 

In addition to sponsoring and coordinating the Ben Franklins as ambassadors of Franklin County, the Franklin County Visitors Bureau has worked with the 225th Anniversary Committee to compile 225 Years of Franklin County: A Commemorative Booklet.  The booklet, available during the Sept. 7 festivities and later at the visitors bureau on 14 North Main Street, Chambersburg, features sections on Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, Waynesboro and areas Around the Bend.  Much has been written about Franklin County in its first 225 years and many memories of days-gone-by are memorialized in photographs and stories. In addition to the booklet, the Ben Franklin Walking Sticks — created by local artisan, Don Park — and the Justice Series Coin Set, four 225th commemorative coins, will be for sale on Sept. 7 at the Capitol Theatre. 

To cap it all off, a 225th Anniversary fireworks display will light up the evening sky at dusk, approximately 9 p.m. Free public parking will be available at the Southgate Shopping Center for viewing the fireworks launched from Nitterhouse Soccer Complex in Chambersburg.

For information, contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at (866)646-8060, (717)709-7204 or visit ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com

These three Benjamin Franklins have been portraying the county’s namesake.