More than 100 people gathered on Market Street in York Friday night to watch the launch of Spaceship York – a project created to send locals' dreams to space.
Since April 1, Lancaster artist and Spaceship York director William Chambers has asked locals to write or draw their dreams for York, for the world or for themselves on a piece of paper. Those sheets of paper were then used in the making of an 11-foot tall, 26-inch wide spaceship, made of wood and canvas, Chambers said.
"It took people a few days to become comfortable enough to share a dream, but once they started, it took off," Chambers said.
By Friday's launch, Chambers had collected more than 300 dreams, he said.
"Some of them are funny, and some are very serious in terms of people thinking about how the world could be better," he said. "We're thinking about dreams as visions... not that I want a nicer car, but what would really help us be more who we want to be."
Chambers' own dream? For people to be able to share their dreams and listen to one another, he said.
When locals heard that the spaceship filled with dreams was scheduled to launch into space Friday, many didn't know what to expect.
Gloria Suarez, of York City, said her curiosity is part of the reason she decided to come.
"I don't really know what to expect," she said before the launch. "But I really like the idea that he created this space here... so people can gather together and share their ideas and dreams."
A sign on the store window Friday told guests to bring eye and ear protection. But they didn't need it.
At 8:30 p.m., Chambers played a short video (or "live video feed," as he called it) of the launch for guests at Spaceship York on Market Street. But it wasn't what some expected.
"I thought the rocket was going to blow up," Suarez said.
Instead, Chambers showed a cartoon-y video of the spaceship launching from the roof and traveling through space, which was met with cheers and applause by the crowd.
"It was amazing," Suarez said. "That was way better than I had imagined it. The idea that they made a fake space background (in the video), and an astronaut landed (in space) was fun, so everyone's dreams made it to outer space."
The video wasn't what Michael and Peggy Ellis, of Spring Garden Township, were expecting either. But they said they thought it was all in "good, clean fun."
"It was awesome," Peggy Ellis said.
While the spaceship didn't actually leave the ground like some expected, Chambers said the idea is that the dreams could go anywhere.
"I think sharing people's dreams and visions is important, and not everybody gets to do that," he said.
The spaceship should "land" in a week and be back in the shop on June 13, so guests can see the ship one last time before the end of the project.
"I think the people of York that participated and shared their dreams gave a gift to each other, and I was glad to be a part of it," Chambers said.