Ephrata celebrates 125th with party downtown

By on August 24, 2016

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Happy birthday, Ephrata.

Ephrata Mayor Ralph Mowen and Ephrata Borough Council President Sue Rowe blew out the candles and they were immediately joined by more than 200 men, women and children with the singing of “Happy Birthday, Dear Ephrata.”

The crowd was gathered at the Whistle Stop Plaza in the first block of East Main Street Aug. 19 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of the Borough of Ephrata.

The festivities began at 5 p.m. with a DJ, food trucks and children’s games as a preview to the presentation of cake and the celebration song. Everyone in attendance then lined up for free cake and ice cream.

The last two hours of the gala were a musical treat, provided by the Roof Rockers, a Lancaster dance and party band that combined guitars and brass, to entertain the crowd. Many set up lawn chairs in the shade of the Royer building to enjoy the tunes and escape the upper 80’s heat, while several took to the black top and concrete dance floor.

Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce executive Director Andrea Glass served as master of ceremonies for the brief remarks before the cake was carried out. The six layer cake was created by Sandy’s Cake and Pastry Shoppe, while sheet cakes were donated by Redner’s, Weis, Martin’s and Weaver markets. Ice cream was made especially for the event by Fox Meadows Creamery.

“It is probably one of the best things that I’ve had the pleasure of doing since I’ve been mayor (23 years),” said Mowen. “This tells me that people are happy to be living in Ephrata.”

“Being a part of history is so inspirational,” added Rowe, who also serves as president of Downtown Ephrata, Inc. (DEI). “There’s so much we can learn and appreciate what we enjoy today because of the sacrifices of our predecessors.”

The event was co-sponsored by DEI and the chamber, with primary support from event sponsor Ephrata National Bank, who is also celebrating a milestone (135 years) in 2016.

“Ephrata National Bank has always been on Main Street in Ephrata,” noted Jim Brown, the bank’s director of facilities. “We’re happy to be involved in the community. We plan to stay.”

“We actually have been working together the last couple of years,” Mowen said. “Vision Ephrata worked well, and we’re kind of feeding off of that.”

“It’s an awesome sense of community,” said Rowe. “We have volunteers that are willing to work together.”

Mowen didn’t hesitate to express what gives him pride in Ephrata.

“The people are fantastic, they get involved. They let you know how they feel and they’re passionate,” said Mowen. “I’m really proud of our police department. We have a great group of dedicated men and women who protect and serve this borough.”

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