By Jiachen Sun ‘20 News Reporter
Strolling down East Seminary Street from Main Hall, the town of Mercersburg appears to look the way it always has: serene, a soft breeze ruffling the leaves. However, walk far enough down the road, and your ears fill with the chatter of conversation. The rows of vendors, surrounded by mobs of gathered people, suddenly comes into view. This is Mercersburg’s 40th annual Townfest. The first thing that becomes visible is a spread of pumpkins to welcome the coming autumn season. It’s easy to be drawn into the available assortment of pumpkins, but there are still so many more sights to see.
Mention Townfest and one thought immediately comes to the minds of Mercersburg community members. “The Amish donuts are very good,” says Keli Flanagan ’20. “A lot of people stop by Townfest just for the famously delicious donuts.” Unsurprisingly, even early in the morning, there is already a long line of people waiting by the Amish donut tent. Of course, there will be more to see and buy as one ambles down the road.
Food-related shops line the sides of the street, offering milkshakes, kettle corn, and pies. But vendors also feature a variety of other items. Delicate handcrafted necklaces and sun catchers reflect the light of day from the tables of the shops. And, of course, there are sections for the children. Near the end of the row of shops to arrive at the carnival area, there is a moon bounce, a pony ride, picture taking with Disney princesses, and even the chance to win a goldfish! The whole place is filled with happy shouts of laughter.
One North Coffee & Bake Shop also transforms for the event. “Townfest this fall marks an occasion for One North,” says Lena Eckstine, the owner of the shop. “We’re switching to our fall menu, and bubble tea will now be permanently available on the menu!”
At Townfest, it’s easy to run into familiar students and faculty members milling about. “Townfest is a nice place to take a study break,” said Aidan Ferrin ’20. Townfest is one of the rare points of the year where students of Mercersburg Academy really get to interact with the greater Mercersburg community, especially with those students who are part of the James Buchanan Band who also run a band bake sale.
Mercersburg Academy students and faculty are normally enclosed in the infamous “bubble.” Even for the faculty, Townfest provides the opportunity to make time to see other people in the town and bond as a community.