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Bloom Festival celebrates springtime in Shippensburg

SHIPPENSBURG - April showers delivered May flowers to downtown Shippensburg for the second Bloom Festival, taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 14, in the borough parking lot across from the Shippensburg Police Department at 60 W. Burd St.

The day-long, rain-or-shine celebration of local music, crafts, food and flowers is presented by the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Food vendors will be located along McCreary Avenue to guide patrons to the borough lot where they will find more than a dozen craft and retail vendors.

For the kids

Children’s activities will take place in the grassy area behind the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce office with access from either King Street or McCreary Avenue. The kids’ activities, games and crafts will be arranged by members of Shippensburg University’s Career and Community Engagement Center. The children’s area closes at 2 p.m.

Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce President Scott Brown explained that the festival is a seasonal counterbalance to the Corn Festival held in August.

“It was started as an initiative to bring additional activities into our community that would allow members and businesses to participate,” Brown said. “A lot of our community folks love crafts and the opportunity to sit and have a bite to eat among their neighbors. We find that those two things put together make for a nice day.”

At the Bloom Festival, what is good for the patron is also good for the vendor, and the vendors who participated last year were pleased with the turnout.

“A very large percentage of them sold most of their stuff,” said Brown. “We’re looking forward for that momentum to continue.”

Mark Bodenhorn, a member of the planning committee for the festival as well as the director of marketing and administrative services for the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University, explained that the chamber began planning the event within a week after the first one by using feedback surveys.

“I liked the energy that was created by the festival,” he said. “It really played to all of the senses. You had the aroma of the food and the flowers and a DJ playing so you had music in the background. There were a lot of vendors. It was a nice assortment of things to see and do.”

Focus on Shippensburg

For Bodenhorn, Bloom Festival is more than just a celebration of spring. The event is one of a number of activities designed to appeal to local residents and regional visitors alike.

Specifically, he views the event as a way to introduce Shippensburg to the recent influx of residents that arrived when the Volvo Construction Equipment facility opened.

“The company has a lot of employees coming in from outside of the area who may not be familiar with Shippensburg and their new surroundings,” said Bodenhorn. “This gives them an opportunity to get a taste of the town.”

Bodenhorn also sees the festival as a way to position Shippensburg as a destination for people in surrounding communities such as Carlisle.

In addition to the food, crafts and retailers in the borough lot, there will be a variety of other activities going on around town.

Chalk art, duck derby

From 8 a.m. until noon, attendees can watch as the downtown sidewalks are turned into masterpieces during the Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest. They will be able to vote for their favorites between noon and 2 p.m., and then awards will be announced for “Overall Best of Show” and the “People’s Choice Award” in a ceremony at 3 p.m. The contest is hosted by Shippensburg Downtown Organizations Investing Together and the prizes were donated by local businesses.

Meanwhile, there will be a duck derby to support the Shippensburg Public Library at 1 p.m. The ducks will swim from the King Street Bridge towards the Burd Street Bridge to win one of three cash prizes: $250, $100 or $50. People who wish to be in the race can purchase one duck for $5 or six ducks for $20.

Playing at Luhrs

Closing the night at 7:30 p.m. is Rick Michel with his “Sinatra Forever: A Salute to Frank Sinatra” at the Luhrs Center will pay homage to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” by performing songs that touch upon all aspects of Sinatra’s life and career. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling 717.477.SHOW (7469).

Events held in the borough lot are free and open to the public, but individual vendors may charge for certain activities.

Although no streets will be closed for the festival, the pedestrian walkway across King Street connecting to the post office and the Shippensburg Area Historical Society will be staffed by fire police.

Designated patron parking will be available.

Volunteers are needed to help with tasks such as setting up tables and chairs, hanging up signs and banners, monitoring the trash and ensuring that the needs of the vendors are met throughout the event. Anyone interested in volunteering should e-mail or call 717-532-5509.