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It’s a day for reunions, shopping, eating and listening to music, and area residents mark it on their calendars each year.

The 41st annual Market Street Festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Selinsgrove, drawing crowds of more than 10,000 people.

“It’s kind of cool how it’s come to be a big family and class reunion,” said Joyce Hendricks, chairperson for the festival. “It’s a great day for people to reconnect.”

This year’s festival features more than 130 crafters and artisans, 29 of them first-time vendors. The list of merchandise being sold includes jewelry, pottery, leather and wood crafts. The variety offers a chance to get a jump on holiday shopping with selections of candles, essential oils, books, fabric crafts, stuffed animals, handbags and pet treats.

New vendors include 31 Gifts, portraits while you wait, hand-knitted items, ketone products, bird feeders, and more.

“We have a gentleman who does handmade fishing lures and things like that,” said Lindsay Trick, administrative support for Selinsgrove Projects, Inc., which hosts the festival. “The Selinsgrove Center is also joining us this year. They are doing ceramics and planters, arts and crafts, stuff like that this year.”

The Selinsgrove Area High School Marching Band will kick off the festival with selections of music. 

Entertainment throughout the day will be provided by Selinsgrove Dance Studio, Burns Tae Kwan Do, Larry Smith, Timothy Burns, Broken Star and Pete’s Consequence. For added fun, a Broadway Musical Revue will be performed by The Valley Players Community Theater Organization.

The Snader Strong 5K, organized by Selinsgrove Area High School girls track coach Jeff Kiss, will begin at 9 a.m. The race is a fundraiser honoring Tyson Snader, who, according to the Selinsgrove Seals Track Team website, was involved in a diving accident that injured his neck and rendered him paralyzed from the chest down. “All proceeds from this event go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which supports spinal cord research.”

The course begins and ends near the Pine Street Bridge, looping through the Isle of Que and along the Susquehanna River. To register, visit www.sealstrack.com, click on the Snader 5K icon and the Registration button.

Children will enjoy kids’ crafts, face painting, games and a petting zoo. Parents might want to check out the Usborne Books for infants through teens.

“We try to make it a fun event, offering free activities for kids,” Trick said.

The weekly Farmers’ Market in the Commons will go on as always, with its fresh produce selections. Food stands will provide homemade Maryland crab soup, pierogis, French pastries, root beer, kettle cooked potato chips, whoopie pies, German potato cakes, caramel apples, deep-fried turkey sandwiches and more.

“A lot of our vendors are local nonprofits, and this is a way for them to raise funds for the year,” Trick said.

Wicked Dog Grille and The Isle of Que Brewing Company are co-hosting what they say will be the hot dog eating competition of the year, with “trophies to be won. Fortune and glory to be had,” according to a Facebook post at Wicked Dog. Register at either restaurant.

A NASCAR Race simulator will give people a chance to win two tickets to the race of their choice. Merchandise will also be available for sale.

Hendricks has been involved with the festival as either a participant or organizer from the beginning. To the best of her knowledge, it started as a way to celebrate the completion of the Routes 11 and 15 highway that allowed motorists to bypass downtown Selinsgrove.

Back then the festival consisted of only one block of Market Street. It has grown to cover Market Street from Snyder to Sassafras Streets as well as Pine Street and University Avenue.

“It is like a big homecoming where you get to see people in town who you can’t see any other time,” said Hendricks, a former Selinsgrove Area High School teacher. “I see students who left the area. It’s like a big town reunion. That’s what I’ve always thought it to be.”

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