Unlike the “Roaring 20’s” of the Great Gatsby here in South Central Pennsylvania the Mechanicsburg Borough Council decided to create an affair held during the June lull in farmer’s work that local residents “would not forget.” Blocking off several blocks of Main Street for Merchants and Farmers Day they let visitors “roam the streets”.
They stumbled onto one of the more wheelchair accessible events possible, pedestrian only streets.
Today known as “Jubilee Day”, that first ‘roaming of the streets’ has grown to 60,000 visitors and the largest one-day street fair in the Eastern United States.
For perspective keep in mind that Mechanicsburg has a population of less than 9,000.
Neither the armies of the Confederacy nor Hollywood have rivaled Jubilee Day crowds.
* During the US Civil War, Mechanicsburg was the northernmost town to be captured and occupied by the Confederate Army.
* If you watched the film, “Girl Interrupted” you have unbeknownst already visited Mechanicsburg. The ice cream parlor scene was filmed in Eckels' Drug Store on Main Street.
Packed into the less than a mile of blocked streets, tens of thousands of people do not exactly ‘roam’. A wheelchair may as well be swallowed by a boa constrictor of human beings.
Obstacles tend to challenge us more than deter us and we soon discovered early morning of Jubilee Day. The hour before “official” starting time, summer temps are Multiple Sclerosis friendly, refreshingly cool and streets are less congested for wheelchair maneuvering. Most vendors are open and glad to give you their time.
One of the quirks of a street fair is that shopping is wheelchair accessible since it is set up on folding tables unlike a retail store where shopping is designed for standing people. Patti loves being able to actually see and touch items and chat in the give and take of street fair sales.
In its 81st year, Jubilee Day is on-line at Jubilee Day 2009, and can be ‘your friend’ on Facebook at Jubilee Day and Gotta Love Jubilee Day.
You can view OUR related videos at:
Jubilee Day 2007 (1 min)
Jubilee Day 2008 (wheelchair view) 3 min
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site: http://caregivinglyyours.com/
musings: Patrick Ponders ...