Skip to main content

ChambersFest offers an action-packed staycation

CHAMBERSBURG - The definition of "staycation," according to, is a “vacation spent at home, or near home, doing enjoyable activities, or visiting local attractions.” If you dread the idea of standing in long airport lines, or battling the traffic on the construction-heavy highways, a ChambersFest staycation might be calling your name.

From July 9-16, the borough will be bursting at the seams with activities designed to celebrate the indomitable spirit of its citizens who rebuilt it after the Confederates ravaged the area during the Civil War burning that took place on July 30, 1864.

Eat, drink, win a prize

Area restaurants are kicking off the celebration in grand style by announcing the first-ever restaurant week. Chefs will be creating special dishes that can be purchased for $18.64 to commemorate the year when the town was forced to rebuild. Among the participants are Café Italia, The Cottage, EJ’s Grill, Main Street Deli, Molly’s Restaurant & Carry Out, The Orchards, Relax Lounge and Roy-Pitz Brewing Company.

And if delicious food isn’t incentive enough, customers who post their meals on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with hashtag #Cburgeats, can earn more than just a big thumbs up. Each mouthwatering picture has the potential to be a prizewinner, so get out there and snap away.

Race to the finish line, celebrate with ice cream

Two races are on tap for the first day of the ChambersFest celebration and both raise money for a good cause.

On July 9, the 13th Annual Tim and Susan Cook Memorial 1-Mile Races will begin with registration at 7 a.m. at the Chambersburg Memorial YMCA, with the females getting their stride on at 8:30 and the men following at 9:30.

Proceeds benefit the Tim & Susan Cook Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to students at the Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

After burning all those calories, why not celebrate at Scoop-a-Palooza? For $6, adults can sample a wide variety of ice cream from local ice cream shops and children get an even better deal at $4 a ticket.

Face painting, magic and music will be part of the celebration designed to appeal to young and old alike.

Wrap up the day with music and a movie

The ChambersFest kickoff just happens to coincide with Second Saturday, so live music is on tap as well. Jon Ingels performs at Fort Chambers Park and will be followed by the band, “Wings that Buzz.” Afterwards, guests can enjoy a showing of the timeless film, “Back to the Future.”

Learn more about history at the Capitol Theatre

On July 14, ChambersFest gears back up again for two showings of the movie “Lincoln” at 3 and 6 p.m. The 2012 movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by Steven Spielberg chronicles the life of Lincoln’s time in office and his personal struggles.

Those who are interested in viewing a short film on The Burning of Chambersburg are advised to arrive a half-hour early.

Have a ball—1864 style

Practice your fancy footwork and step back into time at the annual Civil War Ball which begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 15 at the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle. Participants will be led by the Victorian Dance Ensemble and attendees are encouraged to dress in Civil War, contemporary business, or formal attire.

A celebration culmination

Music is a big part of the ChambersFest celebration, and the Cumberland Valley School of Music brings its talent to the First United Methodist Church from 9-11 a.m. on July 16, starting with a mini version of the “The Sound of Music,” and ending with entertaining song and dance performances.

New this year to the celebration is the ChambersFest 7s Rugby tournament to be held at 9 a.m. at the Chambersburg Area Middle School South. “Rugby is gaining momentum here in the United States,” said ChambersFest Events Coordinator Scott Fish, who describes the tournament format as “condensed.” “Because the games are shorter, they can conduct an entire tournament in one day,” he added. Admission is free and concessions will be available during the event.

“Old Market Day,” returns again this year to ChamberFest, kicking off at 9 a.m. on July 16 and continuing until 4 p.m. The popular event features arts and crafts, food, activities for the children and live entertainment and is followed by “A Cappella & Unplugged,” starting at 7 p.m. The competition is already underway and is heating up as talented musicians vie for the chance to win $500 and a spot in competition finale which will take place on the steps of the courthouse. Preview acts and place your vote by visiting the Franklin County Visitor’s Bureau’s Facebook page at:

The action-packed week will culminate with “The Burning of Chambersburg,” where actors and lighting specialists combine forces to provide the public with a realistic presentation of a pivotal moment in Chambersburg history. “It’s all done with lights and atmospheric effects,” said Fish.

Before heading home, the public is invited to the free “Illuminate Party,” where they can enjoy even more music from the “A Cappella & Unplugged” contestants before heading home.

Amy Weibley, communications director for the Chamber of Commerce, said that ChambersFest is always an exciting time for residents and visitors alike. “It helps small businesses in the area and brings together family and friends, while celebrating the towns history and the spirit of the townspeople.”

To learn more about hours, prices and events, visit:


July 9-16

Chambersfest restaurant week:  visit participating restaurants to take advantage of their Chambersfest Restaurant week specials; enter to win daily prizes; sponsored by Johnnie’s Restaurant & Hotel Service, Inc.; for more information contact Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce at 717-264-7101

July 9

13th Annual Tim and Susan Cook Memorial 1-mile race: 7-9:30 a.m., Chambersburg Memorial YMCA; registration at 7 a.m.; Women’s/Girl’s race/walk at 8 a.m.; Men/Boy’s race/walk at 8:30 a.m.; Results ceremony at 9:30 a.m.; fee; for more information contact Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce at 717-264-7101

Chambersfest bike day: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Chambersburg Bike Park, Chambersburg; registration and practice from 9-11 a.m.; racing begins at 11 a.m.; helmets required; pump track race, best trick jump contest and short track cross-country race; ages 6 to adults; for more information

Scoop-a-Palooza: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Chambersburg Senior High School, 511 South Sixth Street, Chambersburg; all-you-can-eat ice cream samples from local ice cream shops; proceeds raise money for educational programs offered through Greater Chambersburg Chamber Foundation; tickets $6 adults, $4 kids in advance; purchase tickets on line at

Second Saturday: 5-8 p.m. Chambers Fort Park; behind Northwood Books and Main Street Deli and Catering; concert live music from Wings that Buzz with opening act Jon Ingles, beginning at dusk an outdoor family-friendly film, Back to the Future; bring blankets, chairs and picnics

July 14

Lincoln:  3 and 6 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 159 South Main Street, Chambersburg; prior to the movie there will be a short film about the Burning of Chambersburg beginning at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; tickets $5; the showing is sponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau; purchase tickets at

July 15

1864 Civil War Ball: 6:30-9:30 p.m., Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 South Ridge Avenue, Greencastle; guided by the Victorian Dance Ensemble; dress in Civil War era attire, contemporary formal attire or contemporary business attire; tickets $15 per person or $25 per couple at

July 16

Old Market Day: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., downtown Chambersburg; arts, crafts and food vendors, kids activities, entertainment on two stages and the North Square Farmers Market; for more information call the Downtown Business Council at 717-261-0072 or

Celebrate Music at Old Market Day: 9-11 a.m., First United Methodist Church, 225 South Second Street, Chambersburg; 9 a.m. Cumberland Valley School of Music Voice and Drama Camp will perform a mini version of “The Sound of Music” grades 4-8; CVSM Voice and Drama Camp Jr will be presenting “Friend on the Farm” grades 1-3; final performance will be songs, dances and artwork by Sam’s Music Camp; for more information

ChambersFest 7s Rugby tournament: 9 a.m., Chambersburg Area Middle School South, 1151 E. McKinley Street, Chambersburg; school age rugby tournament competitive divisions; team registration is $200 ($175 if paid before July 4); to register contact Steve Wright to register at or 717-352-8864

Organ recital: by The American Guild of Organists (AGO); 11 a.m., Central Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg; in conjunction with Old Market Days; with organists Carol Ann Day, Trinity UCC, Waynesboro; Linda Peppernick, First United Methodist, Chambersburg; and Helen Wingert, Central Presbyterian Church, Chambersburg; all welcome.

8th Annual Smoke ‘Em if you Got ‘Em Party: Franklin County Historical Society and Roy Pitz Brewery; noon-6 p.m., Old Jail, 175 E. King St., Chambersburg; music from The Hello Strangers, The Naked Sun; Ribbins BBQ, Western Redneck BBQ; Jan Zell Wines wines and wine slushies; Roy Pitz brews; $5 adults, $2 kids 6-12, 5 and under free; tickets online, at Roy Pitz Beer Stube, 140 N 3rd St, Chambersburg, at the Old Jail or at the door until sold out; drink tickets $3-5 available at the event; nonsmoking event; bring lawn chairs; for information, 717-264-1667 or email

16th annual Chambersfest summer dance performance: by Chambersburg Ballet Theatre School; 1 p.m., onstage at the historic Capitol Theatre, 159 South Main St., Chambersburg; students from the CBT School's Summer Dance Intensive,ages 9-17, performing jazz, musical theater, character (folk) dances,and new contemporary and classical ballet pieces by CBT School Guest Faculty members Kristin D'Addario and Peter Doll of Atlanta; admission is $5 at the door.

1864: The Burning: 6-10 p.m., downtown Chambersburg; the story of the town’s ransom, burning and rebirth will come to life; historic walking tours, living history, exhibits, etc.; Confederate soldiers will be attempting to gather ransom money from the crowd, which will be donated to Franklin County Habitat for Humanity; for information contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866-646-8060

A Cappella & Unplugged: 7 p.m., downtown Chambersburg; performed on the steps of the courthouse; the winner will receive $500 and bragging rights to the 2nd annual talent search contest; for more information

Illuminate Party: 10 p.m., The Capitol Theatre, 159 South Main Street, Chambersburg; after light show; enjoy more music from contestants of A Cappella & Unplugged; free