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Gettysburg Festival – at the Crossroads of History and Culture

(4/1) When you hear the word, "Gettysburg" your mind automatically jumps to the Civil War, doesn’t it? Rightly so… Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is known across the globe as the home of the costliest battle in the war. In just three days, there were more than 46,000 casualties and losses. 150 years later, there is a proud and respectful atmosphere in the town. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War. It changed the nation – and, the world.

But, there is much more to this little town. Beyond the battlefields and cemeteries lies a well of talent, creativity and booming business. The Gettysburg Festival was created to celebrate this…American arts, culture and cuisine…against its beautifully historic backdrop.

"I believe a community is defined by how it celebrates – the community's similarities and differences...its culture and heritage," explains Randy Prasse, the Festival’s executive director. "Gettysburg is so rich in culture and heritage – including but also in addition to the Battlefield. The Gettysburg Festival celebrates the community and region for all of its assets."

In its sixth year, the Gettysburg Festival – a 16-time international Pinnacle Award winner – is a sought-out event, which has grown to become a yearly tradition for the entire family with both area residents and tourists alike. With an average attendance of 23,000 people from 30 states and the District of Columbia, the Festival showcases local talent within the community in the areas of visual arts, culinary arts, theater, film, music and children's events, as well as presenting world-renown experts in these categories. Participants in past years include James Earl Jones, comedy legend Bob Newhart, Kevin Eubanks of Tonight Show fame, former White House Chef Walter Scheib and the critically-acclaimed Boston Brass.

Gettysburg Festival 2013 will be held June 8 -16th. Highlights of the 10-day event include Phil Dirt presents Surfs Up! A Tribute to the Beach Boys as well as crowd-pleasing perennial favorites: Blues, Beer, & BBQ, the History Meets the Arts Edible Art Tour, and the Gettysburg Brass Band Festival, to name a few. There will also be a concert from an award-winning mystery country artist, who will be announced soon.

One of popular music’s most romantic singing groups, The Letterman, are bringing their close-harmony pop songs to the Majestic Theater stage during Gettysburg Festival 2013. In a career spanning over 50 years, the talented trio has given us iconic songs like "When I Fall In Love," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Sealed with a Kiss," and "Unchained Melody," and is sure to be a crowd-pleasing favorite feature of the Festival. This performance will be Saturday, June 15th. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased for $32.50, $42.50 and $52.50 on the Festival website.

New York Times bestselling author and master storyteller of historical and military fiction, Jeff Shaara will present his lecture, "History through Storytelling, Jeff Shaara's Journey Through the Legacy of his Father" to the Gettysburg Festival audience in a luncheon on Saturday, June 15th. Son of Pulitzer prize-winning author, Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels), Shaara carried on his father’s work and wrote a prequel (Gods and Generals, 1996) and a sequel (The Last Full Measure, 1998), which were both big best sellers, with Gods and Generals winning the American Library Association’s William Young Boyd Award. Now, with nine additional books to his credit, Shaara captivates audiences by bringing America's vivid past to life in stories that span from the Civil War to World War II.

The Gettysburg Festival Fringe – a festival within the festival – showcases the talent within the community and has deep roots that span the ocean. The "fringe" concept began in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland as an alternative event that ran concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival and the following year a local Edinburgh journalist, Robert Kemp, gave it the name Fringe. These events are now found around the world, and have also caught on in the United States.

Like all fringe events, the Gettysburg Festival Fringe is an open community cultural experience. Part of the larger Gettysburg Festival, the Fringe is designed to provide the opportunity for every artist, writer, performer, cultural organization, historical venue, church and business in Gettysburg and the regional area to present their event.

This year’s Fringe showcases will include many events that have become staples within the community as well as a few new ones.

Historic Gettysburg and Adams County, Inc. will be sponsoring the 7th Annual BarnArt Show, an exhibit showcasing artists’ interpretations of Adams County barns. The artists’ style can be representational or abstract, and may be any art medium, including photography. Artwork is judged and prizes are awarded in the following categories: Adult Fine Art; Adult Photography; Student Fine Art and Student Photography.

"Gettysburg in Bloom" 2nd Annual Garden Tour will take place 1:00-5:00pm June 8th. Host, Brafferton Inn, invites attendees to discover the beauty and utility of the gardens of the Gettysburg area by spending an afternoon exploring seven gardens, each with its own rich appeal. No two places feel quite the same. There are flower filled gardens, new gardens, formal and informal, large and small, all bursting in riots of color and overloading the senses with fragrant smells and sights. Also this year, enjoy a taste of wines from the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail. Proceeds from tickets to the Garden Tour will benefit Adams County Heart and Stroke Walk.

Striving to be an event for the entire family, Gettysburg Festival also plays host to a great children’s program. The Children’s Festival, on Sunday, June 9th, will pay tribute to the agricultural heritage of Adams County with cutout farm animals and a kid-size barn ready to explore. In addition, local farmers will present a market of fresh fruits and vegetables. Held from noon-5pm on the Gettysburg College campus, the program is designed as a world market of creative ideas with a focus on healthy living. Performers throughout the afternoon include storyteller Ann Griffith and the Gettysburg Community Theater. The Children’s Festival is free and open to the public.

Gettysburg, often referred to as a town located at the crossroads of history, is now poised at a cultural crossroads. This charming Civil War-era town, ideally situated in central Pennsylvania, is located within a day’s drive of 60% of the entire North American population. What better place than Gettysburg, an iconic spot in American history, to celebrate American arts, culture and cuisine.

For more information about Gettysburg Festival 2013, to view the schedule, plan your visit and purchase tickets to various events, go to the Festival website at

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