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Less wine, but more chill at reimagined Pop A Cork event

CHAMBERSBURG - Beach balls and palm trees decorated the back lot of the Capitol Theatre Saturday afternoon as reggae music and the scent of barbecue wafted through the air at the annual Pop a Cork for the Capitol festival.

Pop a Cork, an annual fundraising event for the Capitol Theatre, underwent a transformation from past years' events. Normally a wine-tasting fundraiser, this year, it was known as Pop a Cork for the Capitol Beach Party, with frozen cocktails, specialty drinks, barbecue, ribs, pulled pork, and other tropical favorites available for enjoyment. There was wine for sale, but the drink didn't play as big a role as it has before.

Capitol Theatre Manager Stephanie Tack said the fundraiser was changed due to the difficulties in previous years to make enough money to make it worth the while.

First off, she said, much of the money raised went to the costs related to bringing featured wineries to the event and to covering other associated expenses. With between 500 and 1,000 people coming out to the event each year, the fundraiser would yield between $4,000 and $15,000 - which doesn't go far when, according to Tack, it costs $1,000 a day just to keep the historic theater open. So, the event committee elected for the change.

"It matches the summer theme," Tack said. "We thought it would be fun. We wanted it to be fun."

Another change could be in store next year, to move the start of the event to later in the mid-afternoon in order to escape the late-summer heat. Despite temperatures being around 90 degrees this year, the heat didn't seem to be too much of a nuisance to those in attendance, and if it did, they could step into the air conditioned theater for a few minutes of relief.

Dex Koser and Sara Massimilla were a few of the people taking advantage of the cooler air inside the theater. The two have attended multiple Pop a Cork events, so the new beach-party format created a new experience for them.

"I seem to like it so far," Massimilla said. "I think the beach theme atmosphere is fun." She said the format allowed more opportunity to just hang out and relax than in previous years.

Linda Zeigler and Dru Cramer also were pleased with the new changes.

"Wine tastings are fun, but this has a freer atmosphere, Zeigler said.

Cramer liked that she could enjoy herself and help a good cause in the process.

"Honestly, it (the old format) was very nice, but it was time for a change," Cramer said. "I like supporting the Capitol."

Not everybody was pleased with the new format. Alicia Ricker and Sandi Guyer were enjoying the more laid-back atmosphere, but they preferred the wine-tasting aspect of the event and they had one simple request.

"Bring back the wine," Ricker said.

David Barr, 717-881-7020