- The ‘Great Eastern Wizard’ of the Park House hotel
- Manheim woodworker crafts bodies for Martin Guitar
- Siblings homeless after being separated 40 years
- Going, going, gone! Local beer events selling out quickly
- ‘American Idiot’ at EPAC
- Finally: the Ephrata Brewfest!
- The fallout of 11 MC bomb threats
- Memorial Day Parade
- Second Friday the 13th
- Farmers market opens May 21
Rain delay World record attempt will be rescheduled
STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff
, Staff Writer
Thousands flooded East Main Street to proudly celebrate their hometown’s coolness, and it was soon clear that Lititz would have more than enough heads to break the world record for people wearing sunglasses at night.
The only thing that wasn’t clear was the sky.
Shortly before the designated gathering time for operation shades, the rain made its predicted appearance. By 8:30, when more than 2,000 screaming Lititz fans were expected to surround the town square, the downtown was deserted.
Bummer? A little bit.
Before the rain, the community party to celebrate the borough’s “Coolest Small Town in America” designation for 2013 was bigger and better than any of the organizers expected. And the weather wasn’t going to stop that.
The event committee will meet this week to discuss plans for rescheduling the rained-out portion of last Friday’s festivities. This would include the world record attempt and possibly the theatrical pyrotechnics display. Early word is that they might be incorporated into an upcoming 2nd Friday or another community event, but nothing is firm at this point. Stay tuned to your weekly Record Express for more information.
“Please put in the story that we still have thousands of sunglasses for the next attempt,” said cool chairwoman Kelly Withum.
That quote is a sure sign that the record will be ours soon!
Back to the part of last Friday’s bash that did not get belted from above:
The street was closed to vehicle traffic a little before 5 p.m. Two stages were set, one at Susquehanna Bank (facing the General Sutter Inn) and the other on the south side of Sturgis Lane. Things started out slow as people wandered into the downtown, many donning sunglasses, not quite sure what to expect. Sebastian Janoski officially got things going at Sturgis Lane with the National Anthem. Even though this rising star stumbled on some of the words, his proud father was standing nearby to get him back on track. He rebounded perfectly, and the crowd was behind him 100 percent. The moment was a microcosm of what many feel makes Lititz so cool – the people in the community, and the support they give one another.
After the patriotic formalities, the Main Street Mystics, veteran rockers of Lititz’s 2nd Fridays, put the evening’s soundtrack in motion. And before long, the first block of East Main Street was like a mini Mardi Gras. Street performers, dancers, live music, a town trophy escorted through the crowd by a dixieland jazz band, and a coolest sandwich contest featuring 11 local restaurants combined for an almost overwhelmingly exciting atmosphere. And it was all part of the build up to the big world record attempt at 8:30!
“They’re really excited about the world record,” said Amy Rhoads, Lititz Historical Foundation member and cool event volunteer, referring to crowd comments overheard at the information booth. “Everybody is really excited about that.
“I hope that we get the world record, because I think that would be really cool,” said young Bella Forgione from behind her aviator shades. She was at the party with her twin brothers Sam and Jake, and her grandmom Iris Hoffman.
“Why, exactly, is Lititz so cool?” Bella was asked.
“Well, I think we have really good chocolate, and that it’s so old-fashioned and stuff,” she said, without hesitation.
Bella and her bros are students at Kissel Hill Elementary School.
For Peanut Erb, who was walking Main Street with her husband Ron (both wearing official Cool Lititz sunglasses), finding a specific example of coolness for the town wasn’t so easy. To them, “everything” about Lititz is cool, and they were simply excited to see how many people would show up for the celebration.
Perhaps more importantly, we needed to know where the nickname “Peanut” came from (assuming that isn’t her birth name).
She said it was given to her by Dr. Grosh, 73 years ago. “And it stuck,” she said.
And on that note, it was time to find something to stick to our ribs. The sandwich contestants, creating both savory and sweet entries, were a huge draw. In fact, most of the stands were sold-out before the rain arrived. Before that happened, three judges – Chef Jay Nonnenmocher from Landis Homes, Chef Bob Linkens from Linden Hall and Chef Bill Perham from Luther Acres – tackled 21 samples (most restaurants entered more than one category). Here were their favorites, by category:
Beef – Appalachian Brewing Co.
Traditional Deli – Bruno’s
Farm to Table – Café Chocolate
Dessert – Dosie Dough
Pork – Pork & Wally’s
Best Represents Lititz – Scooter’s
Vegetarian – Tomato Pie Cafe
Poultry/Egg – Tomato Pie Cafe
Seafood – White Swan
But the fact that every stand sold out of product is an indicator that everyone was a winner (How’s that for politically correct?), especially the hungry crowd.
It was a great day for Jim Ament of the Sturgis Haus, who took his signature sandwich to the masses. His table was set up directly across the street from his restaurant and brewpub. Imagine boneless pork shoulder coming out of a smoker after 12 hours, covered with a special top secret rub? Delicious.
Nearby, Mike Greger of Greco’s was working his tail off dishing out his award-winning Taste of Lititz ice cream (2nd place at the Pretzel Fest). His sandwich version was Taste of Lititz on a hot waffle – homemade vanilla ice cream blended with Sturgis Pretzel pieces, Wilbur dark chocolate, peanut butter and fudge, all between two hot vanilla-flavored waffles! Between scoops, he had this to say about the event:
“It’s a great night, I’ll tell ‘ya. This is what Lititz is all about.”
A little further down the street, we found the kitchen trio from Tomato Pie Cafe – Kait Kimmel, Eliza Landis and Jadah Walters. Their creative efforts resulted in two wins on the day. They were especially excited about their avocado and chickpea egg salad, with cilantro and lime.
“It’s totally unique and bursting with flavor,” said Eliza, confident that they had a winning recipe. “When you bite into it, the lime and cilantro is gonna hit ya, and it’s gonna knock your socks off!”
Apparently the judges had no socks at the end of the day, because this sandwich captured the poultry/egg award.
The judges also had front row seats for one of the most popular attractions of the day – aerial acrobat Shelli Buttons.
“That looks pretty difficult,” said an amazed Bess Pearson, Linden Hall student. “It probably take a lot of strength.”
And that was just during warm-ups.
Shelli held the crowd’s attention with every twist and turn as she was suspended on a hoop in the air. We haven’t seen this many people in front of the post office since the Elvis stamp was issued 20 years ago.
“This is fun,” Shelli said during her break. “It kinda is a big draw. It’s not something people see everyday, so it’s unique. That’s the word. Especially on a street. Normally you have to go to a circus and pay a lot of money to see something like this.”
“Unique” was the word of the day as local pie-eating champ (among other lifetime accomplishments) Craig Wagaman paraded Lititz’s Coolest Town Trophy through the crowd, escorted by a dixieland jazz band. This scene, in particular, provided a festive scene the likes of which Lititz has never seen.
Eventually, Wagaman handed off the trophy to Lititz Mayor Ron Oettel, who was joined on stage with local politicians and dignitaries who shared their pride with the community via brief speeches.
“Awesome!” is how Mayor Oettel described the party prior to addressing the crowd. “This is the true spirit of Lititz, Pennsylvania. This is everything that has earned us the right to say this is the Coolest Small Town in America.”
And as the speeches came to a close, the first few raindrops touched down on Main Street. The world record would have to wait.
More COOL PARTY, page A15