Some liken it to "Brigadoon," the mythical town that reawakens
once every hundred years.
But in Mount Gretna, it is an annual miracle. Every year, during the third
weekend of August, this community of some 700 homes and cottages suddenly
springs to life, welcoming 260 artists chosen through juried competition and
20,000 visitors who—by their presence—acknowledge the role that
art plays in their homes, hearts, and lives.
And every year, as thousands of art show patrons return, many others discover
Mount Gretna for the first time. For everyone who comes, it is a return to
an earlier era: to a time when neighbors greeted neighbors from their front
porches, when going for ice cream meant going for a stroll rather than getting
into an automobile, and when life itself pulsed at a rocking chair pace.
The idea for an art show—originally an occasion for Mount Gretna's resident
artists to display their works on the historic grounds of The Pennsylvania
Chautauqua—began 40 years ago. As the show has grown, so has the enthusiasm
of about 200 volunteers—most residing in the seven distinctive neighborhoods
that, municipal boundaries notwithstanding, make up the area most call "Mount
Gretna." Surrounded by hills and protected woodlands, it is a setting where
artists, writers, musicians, and other talented inhabitants thrive year 'round,
nurtured by an atmosphere of contemplative calm.