In a year when few can spend big money, the 19th annual Adams County Heritage Festival with free admission and free parking is a good bet. The festival at Gettysburg Recreation Park on Long Lane kicks off at 12pm on September 19, ends at 5pm and offers a full day of music and dancing, ethnic dishes, children’s activities, craft and vendor demonstrations, and animal and non-commercial information.

The festival opens with bagpipes and civic expressions, followed by exciting German music “Shippensburg Blaskapelle” with 26 musicians and dancers in Bavarian clothing. Next are nine a cappella singers of “Dawn” with their fascinating Eastern European melodies and exquisite embroidered blouses. Ten Chinese-American dancers with graceful fans and umbrellas will take the stage at 2 pm, followed by the wonderful rhythm and blues quartet “Special Request”.

Mexican dancers Grupo Folklorico San José will present their swirling costumes and rhythms at 3:15 p.m., followed by a special children’s theatrical event: Anne Griffith portrays the life of Mary Jamison, a young local girl captured by the Seneca Indians during the French-Indian War. The presentation will also feature tales of Indians involving children from the audience.

Among the demonstrated crafts are pioneer crafts: carpet weaving, spinning and wool processing, weaving and knitting, making musical instruments and basket weaving.

The food pavilion will offer ethnic dishes from many traditions, including local country dishes, shower food, Thai, Indian, Mexican, German, Eastern European, Colombian and Italian cuisine.

In keeping with the festival’s mission to honor the ethnic music, food and crafts of Adams County, the event brings together locals along with many of the surrounding counties to rub their elbows and learn about the cultures that make our nation strong. Participants of the festival are invited to put a pin on the map of the world at the entrance to indicate their country of origin.

Parking is available at Rec Park, along Long Lane or on South Howard Avenue. And when it rains, the show will continue, but be sure to bring an umbrella!

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