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21st Adams County Heritage Festival

Jan Powers & Bill Collinge

(8/17) If youíve never heard a Balinese gamelan or you have no idea what it is, then definitely come to the Gettysburg Recreation Park on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16 for the Twenty-First Annual Adams County Heritage Festival. And if your taste also runs to Reggae and Afro-Roots, you have at least two good reasons not to miss this yearís festival! Traditionally, this event opens to the haunting strains of a bagpiper who circles the Festival grounds following an invocation and civic proclamations.

At 12:15, the program will continue with Gamelan Gita Semara, (beautiful sound), a Balinese gamelan angklung orchestra founded in 2010 by Dr. Brent C. Talbot, of Gettysburg College. Gamelan Gita Semara, the only ensemble of its kind in Pennsylvania, performs traditional music of Bali as well as more recent compositions. The group will be joined by I Ketut Gede Asnawa, a musician from Denpasar, Bali, who now teaches at the University of Illinois, and his wife, Putu Oka Mardiani, a famous dancer in Bali.

At 1:15, Kumladost, a group from the Bosnian refugee community in Carlisle, will perform traditional Balkan dances. Next, at 1:50, weíll hear from Port Righ (pronounced "port ree"), a Celtic pipe and harp duo from New Windsor, MD. They specialize in Scottish music and have spent much time in Scotland, but have broadened their repertoire to include traditional Irish music, vocals, and original works. At 2:40, Eme & Heteru, a 10-member Afro Roots band from Washington, D.C., will combine Afrobeat and Roots Reggae into "a high energy combination of unique and intense musical vibrations." Will we dance? You bet!

At 3:30, the Contreras Family will perform music from Mexico, followed by children of Vida Charter School at 3:45. The afternoon concludes with a play for youngsters, "Rollicking Ripsnorters," presented by the Popcorn Hat Players of Harrisburg at 4 PM. The show features tales of Pecos Bill, Slue-Foot Sue, John Henry and Paul Bunyan and involves audience volunteers to help tell tall tales from our American heritage. Many other hands-on childrenís activities will be available all afternoon at seven different Festival booths.

An ever-popular aspect of the Festival is a mouth-watering array of ethnic foods for sale. This year, cuisine from India, Thailand, Colombia, China and Mexico will be featured, along with Cajun and Soul Food, ice cream and grilled items. A bevy of craft demonstrators will be on hand to show off traditional skills such as paper-cutting, braided rug-making, shuttle and needle tatting, fabric dying, moccasin making, basketry, knitting and weaving. The Strawberry Hill booth will feature live animals, and many other non-profit organizations will be present to distribute information. Donít miss the Lexicon of Sustainability Project showing how all of us can have a positive impact on our local food system.

When you arrive, donít forget to put a pin in the world map showing where your family comes from. The goal of the Festival, organized by the ICPJ with the cooperation of other community groups, is to celebrate the diverse ethnic and cultural heritages of our region through sharing food, music, and the arts. Itís truly a family event, with a handicap-accessible venue, that takes place rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.

For information, please contact Bill Collinge at 334-8943 or

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