Life was carefree for Susan Hartman growing up in Walnut Bottom, South Newton Township.
She hung out with friends at the local swimming hole or during pickup baseball games. There were nights spent outdoors in sleeping bags or lounging on lawn chairs.
“It’s an opportunity for everybody to come back, reminisce and reconnect,” said Hartman, a member of the committee organizing the bicentennial celebration scheduled for Sept. 21.
“We are trying to make it a fun day for everybody,” she said.
Plans are moving forward to present a full slate of activities at two main venues in the unincorporated community located about 8 miles from Shippensburg along Route 174. Admission is free.
Parking will be available at the Trinity Fellowship Center, 110 W. Main St., and the South Newton Township Fire Company, 16 Firehouse Road. Shuttle buses will run all day between the two venues.
The day will begin at 11 a.m. with a parade featuring high school marching bands from Big Spring, Carlisle, Boiling Springs and Shippensburg. The Big Spring Middle School band will also perform. Parade co-marshals will be state Rep. Torren Ecker (R-193) and Rev. Charles and Lurie Slaybaugh.
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After the parade, there will be a 12:30 p.m. ceremony to honor the town’s veterans at the Fellowship Center. The ceremony will feature a performance by the St. Paul’s Brass Quintet along with a speech by retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Deutsch, a Walnut Bottom native.
Other activities at the Fellowship Center include a display of historical pictures and tools, a straw maze and children’s games. There will be a car show in the parking lot of the nearby Trinity United Methodist Church.
The firehouse will also host activities, including a live recreation of a Civilian Conservation Corps encampment. The actual CCC camp used to be stationed on South Mountain so close to Walnut Bottom that several of the men married local women and settled in the community.
Pumpkin carver Danny Kissel will be at the firehouse from noon to 5 p.m. demonstrating his art. Kissel and his teammates were crowned champions of the premiere season of the Food Network’s “Halloween Wars: Hayride of Horror” in 2017.
Live bands will play at the firehouse from 2 to 7 p.m. offering a variety of styles including oldies, soft rock, bluegrass, country and gospel. The bands include Junction 114, Steve Morrison and Friends, North Mountain Ramblers, Mid-Life Crisis and the Juice. There will be square dancing from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Hartman is on the committee that spent the past four years planning the bicentennial. The goal is to not only draw former residents back to Walnut Bottom but to encourage new residents unfamiliar with its past to come out, socialize and learn more about local history. Slide shows featuring vintage photographs will be at both venues from noon to 5 p.m.
Food trucks will be available at the firehouse and fellowship center from noon to 8 p.m. No pets, coolers or outside food or beverages will be allowed at either main venue. Also, no tobacco or alcohol will be allowed at the Trinity Fellowship Center.