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No Sharpsburg festival? (long)

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  • rotbaron@aol.com
    From today s Hagerstown newspaper... Festival s future appears to be grim The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, which has attracted thousands of people in
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 2, 2004
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      From today's Hagerstown newspaper...

      Festival's future appears to be grim

      The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, which has attracted thousands of people in conjunction with Antietam National Battlefield's annual remembrance of the mid-September Civil War battle, may not be held this year because of financial and personnel difficulties, according to members of the group that runs the festival.

      "We just can't do the festival that the community has become accustomed to," said Skip Lushbaugh, 57, of Sharpsburg. She is one of the half-dozen members of the Sharpsburg Heritage Society, which has organized the annual event for the last 12 years. "Logistically, financially, physically, we just can't do it," Lushbaugh said Monday night. Sharpsburg Mayor Hal Spielman read a letter during the Sharpsburg Town Council meeting Monday from Ben Arndt, chairman of the heritage group, saying the group would not run the festival this year. In his letter, Arndt cited a "steadily rising difficulty in staging the festival." Spielman said after the meeting that the town had given the group $3,000 a year in past years, and last year it provided another $2,000 for police supervision. But he heard that due to grant sources drying up, the group had run into difficulties.

      Sharpsburg Town Councilman Jeffery Saylor said there could be a secondary impact on local clubs if the festival isn't held. He said he works with a local Lion's Club chapter, which uses the festival as its main fund-raiser, and he knows of others that do the same. "This is news to us," Saylor said Monday night. Spielman said "it'll be a loss to the town" if the festival isn't held this year. Due to rain, the festival was not well attended last year, but Spielman estimated at least 3,000 people attended two years ago.

      There have been as many as 135 vendors at the festival, which also offers live music and living history performers, Lushbaugh said. The festival shuts down a portion of West Main and South Mechanic streets. In 1996, the group was granted nonprofit status in hopes of being able to obtain more grants, Lushbaugh said, but last year a state arts group only provided $500. Most of the funds came from the town of Sharpsburg, vendor sales and program book advertisements.

      At the group's February meeting, members decided they couldn't hold the festival at full strength, if at all, Lushbaugh said. "It's gotten out of our hands. Five or six people can't put this thing on," Lushbaugh said. "I sincerely hope somebody can pick it up and go with it. ... I would be sorry to see it fall flat."

      POSTED BY: Tom Shay
    • richard@rcroker.com
      ... Tom -- I m glad to get the e-mail and sorry to get the news about the Heritage Days in Sharpsburg. I have wonderful memories and was planning to be there
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 2, 2004
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        >>From today's Hagerstown newspaper...
        >
        > Festival's future appears to be grim
        >
        > The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, which has attracted thousands of people
        > in conjunction with Antietam National Battlefield's annual remembrance of
        > the mid-September Civil War battle, may not be held this year because of
        > financial and personnel difficulties, according to members of the group
        > that runs the festival.
        >
        > "We just can't do the festival that the community has become accustomed
        > to," said Skip Lushbaugh, 57, of Sharpsburg. She is one of the half-dozen
        > members of the Sharpsburg Heritage Society, which has organized the annual
        > event for the last 12 years. "Logistically, financially, physically, we
        > just can't do it," Lushbaugh said Monday night. Sharpsburg Mayor Hal
        > Spielman read a letter during the Sharpsburg Town Council meeting Monday
        > from Ben Arndt, chairman of the heritage group, saying the group would not
        > run the festival this year. In his letter, Arndt cited a "steadily rising
        > difficulty in staging the festival." Spielman said after the meeting that
        > the town had given the group $3,000 a year in past years, and last year it
        > provided another $2,000 for police supervision. But he heard that due to
        > grant sources drying up, the group had run into difficulties.
        >
        > Sharpsburg Town Councilman Jeffery Saylor said there could be a secondary
        > impact on local clubs if the festival isn't held. He said he works with a
        > local Lion's Club chapter, which uses the festival as its main
        > fund-raiser, and he knows of others that do the same. "This is news to
        > us," Saylor said Monday night. Spielman said "it'll be a loss to the
        > town" if the festival isn't held this year. Due to rain, the festival was
        > not well attended last year, but Spielman estimated at least 3,000 people
        > attended two years ago.
        >
        > There have been as many as 135 vendors at the festival, which also offers
        > live music and living history performers, Lushbaugh said. The festival
        > shuts down a portion of West Main and South Mechanic streets. In 1996,
        > the group was granted nonprofit status in hopes of being able to obtain
        > more grants, Lushbaugh said, but last year a state arts group only
        > provided $500. Most of the funds came from the town of Sharpsburg, vendor
        > sales and program book advertisements.
        >
        > At the group's February meeting, members decided they couldn't hold the
        > festival at full strength, if at all, Lushbaugh said. "It's gotten out of
        > our hands. Five or six people can't put this thing on," Lushbaugh said. "I
        > sincerely hope somebody can pick it up and go with it. ... I would be
        > sorry to see it fall flat."
        >
        > POSTED BY: Tom Shay
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        Tom -- I'm glad to get the e-mail and sorry to get the news about the
        Heritage Days in Sharpsburg. I have wonderful memories and was planning
        to be there this year to sign my new book about the battle. Serious
        bummer. I'll probably still be there, but it just won't be the same.

        If you're not familiar with the book (To Make Men Free) check out my web
        site at www.rcroker.com It just went on sale today.

        Richard Croker
        770-977-2397
        www.rcroker.com
      • Bud Wilkinson
        Tom, Thanks for posting this article. I sure hope that things can be worked out to allow this annual event to be held this year. However, having attended
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 3, 2004
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          Tom,

          Thanks for posting this article. I sure hope that things can be worked out
          to allow this annual event to be held this year. However, having attended
          this event every year since 1993, I still plan to be in Sharpsburg in
          September.

          Bud Wilkinson
        • richard@rcroker.com
          ... Bud -- I used to stay at The Rohrbach Inn the B&B on Main St. there, and was there for the parade one year. I got to sit on the balcony and watch and
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 3, 2004
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            > Tom,
            >
            > Thanks for posting this article. I sure hope that things can be worked
            > out
            > to allow this annual event to be held this year. However, having attended
            > this event every year since 1993, I still plan to be in Sharpsburg in
            > September.
            >
            > Bud Wilkinson
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            Bud --

            I used to stay at "The Rohrbach Inn" the B&B on Main St. there, and was
            there for the parade one year. I got to sit on the balcony and watch and
            (even for this big city boy) it was great fun. It was like I was on the
            reviewing stand. But I also knew that Joseph Rorhbach stood in this same
            spot and watched Jackson's corps march into his town. Of course the
            "original" house has been refurbished (I believe) but, nonetheless, it was
            a "moment" for me.
            I hope they will be able to save the event. It would be a shame to lose it.

            Richard Croker
            richard@...
          • Rawlings, Kevin
            Richard & Tom I was the one who started the Union and Confederate troops meeting in the center of town and organizing the regimental bands of both sides into
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 3, 2004
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              Richard & Tom

              I was the one who started the Union and Confederate troops meeting in the
              center of town and organizing the regimental bands of both sides into having
              a battle of the bands. Also had the churches ring the bells at Noon to
              signal the start of the festival. While I was on the committee I planned and
              over saw the culmination of a preservation walk Robert Lee Hodge organized
              that finished marching into town from their historic routes into Sharpsburg
              and meeting in the town square. I got the overnight camping locations, did
              the firewood, water, and porta-johns. Tom Clemens helped me as some of the
              money raised went to SHAF. Got avery nice Keith Rocco print as a thanks from
              the march organizers. Very few people know of what I did, but there have
              been some pretenders to the event in recent years making claims these things
              were their brainchilds. They have never had a hand in what I started. These
              were the days when the Lion's Club ran the event. Then the politics got out
              of hand during the event when we had the greatest attendence of Living
              history groups and success for the festival, including an artillery piece.
              All that I had set up started to be stripped back because of fears of a
              political back lash from another group. I quit and have never looked back.
              Unfortunately the festival has degenerated into a big crafts fair which not
              what it once was. It is a good money maker for SHAF,Inc.. Several members
              have tried to re-recruit me but I am not interested in getting back into the
              pool. I have more fun dressing up and primping and promenading around town
              and working the SHAF table. Can't say I'm surprised it has fallen apart.

              Best Regards,
              Kevin Rawlings
            • Rawlings, Kevin
              Tom, And we ll look forward to seeing you. My porch is always open for you all to set a spell. Kevin
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 3, 2004
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                Tom,

                And we'll look forward to seeing you. My porch is always open for you all to
                set a spell.

                Kevin
              • Mary A. Stevanus
                Kevin, I agree with much of what you say. The Festival has gotten very far from what it was, but it s failure is not an option . I live in town, and I hope
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 3, 2004
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                  Kevin,

                  I agree with much of what you say. The Festival has gotten very far
                  from what it was, but it's failure is "not an option". I live in
                  town, and I hope this is a wake-up call for the current organizers
                  that some serious changes need to be made to save it. The Sharpsburg
                  Historical Society is looking into ways we can help out, so don't be
                  surprised if you get a call!

                  PS (I don't call it a craft fair. I call it a junk fair! Without a
                  juried show you will never get real artists to set up shop.

                  Mary Stevanus

                  --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Rawlings, Kevin"
                  <kevin.rawlings@s...> wrote:
                  > Richard & Tom
                  >
                  > I was the one who started the Union and Confederate troops meeting
                  in the
                  > center of town and organizing the regimental bands of both sides
                  into having
                  > a battle of the bands. Also had the churches ring the bells at Noon
                  to
                  > signal the start of the festival. While I was on the committee I
                  planned and
                  > over saw the culmination of a preservation walk Robert Lee Hodge
                  organized
                  > that finished marching into town from their historic routes into
                  Sharpsburg
                  > and meeting in the town square. I got the overnight camping
                  locations, did
                  > the firewood, water, and porta-johns. Tom Clemens helped me as some
                  of the
                  > money raised went to SHAF. Got avery nice Keith Rocco print as a
                  thanks from
                  > the march organizers. Very few people know of what I did, but there
                  have
                  > been some pretenders to the event in recent years making claims
                  these things
                  > were their brainchilds. They have never had a hand in what I
                  started. These
                  > were the days when the Lion's Club ran the event. Then the politics
                  got out
                  > of hand during the event when we had the greatest attendence of
                  Living
                  > history groups and success for the festival, including an artillery
                  piece.
                  > All that I had set up started to be stripped back because of fears
                  of a
                  > political back lash from another group. I quit and have never
                  looked back.
                  > Unfortunately the festival has degenerated into a big crafts fair
                  which not
                  > what it once was. It is a good money maker for SHAF,Inc.. Several
                  members
                  > have tried to re-recruit me but I am not interested in getting back
                  into the
                  > pool. I have more fun dressing up and primping and promenading
                  around town
                  > and working the SHAF table. Can't say I'm surprised it has fallen
                  apart.
                  >
                  > Best Regards,
                  > Kevin Rawlings
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