National Pike Festival

May 14, 1997

National Pike Festival

All-weekend party from Clear Spring to Boonsboro celebrates road's history

Story by Kate Coleman

Staff Writer

Mapleville artist Charles Marvil's telephone answering machine greeting advises callers to remember that "History is not our past; it is our future."

History, as the subject of his artwork, is a large part of Marvil's present. And history, as usual, is the centerpiece for the ninth annual Washington County portion of the National Pike festival this weekend.


Marvil has painted the coat of arms of the Calverts, the Lords Baltimore, his distant ancestors and founders of colonial Maryland. Marvil's watercolor and the first copy of a limited edition print of Boonsboro by artist Dennis S. Sherald will be auctioned at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Boonsboro's Shafer Park. Proceeds from the auction and sales of the prints will benefit Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ Founder's Day group, according to organizer Richard Ginck. The auction and display of Marvil's and Sherald's artwork are part of Boonsboro's Founder's Day celebration which begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. The artists will be at the park Saturday and Sunday.

Marvil's miniature sculptures of Revolutionary War soldiers will be featured in a display of his work. His figures are not rigid little look-alike tin soldiers. Although Marvil starts with a basic manikin, his creations are individuals with lifelike facial expressions and attention to detail in uniform and equipment. Some of the figures are done in polyform, a ceramic Marvil describes as a crude porcelain. Others are recast using soft lead. Some are painted, others are "pewterized" - completed with a metallic finish.

Marvil, 48, who received training at Corcoran School of Art, then part of George Washington University, and American University, in Washington, D.C., says he's been interested in military history since he was a little kid. In addition to his "one-of-a-kind" figures, Marvil draws and paints heraldic arms, portraits of historical figures and landscapes.

History also is the key to much of Frederick County artist Sherald's work. He will sign copies of the limited edition print of the pen-and-ink drawing commissioned for Boonsboro's Founder's Day celebration. The print includes a key which is the guide to the historical events and sites pictured.

Sherald gave up his day job teaching art in Frederick County Schools two years ago. He says he primarily considers himself a sculptor, working in many media - marble, clay and wood. He's done a lot of work on the Civil War period and often uses nature as his subject. He has created prints for other Maryland towns, including Sharpsburg, Frederick, Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Union Bridge and Brunswick, as well as Gettysburg, Pa. Sherald describes his style as evolving. His work ranges from realistic to abstract and from folk to stylized art. He likes the collaboration involved in commissioned works, and enjoys creating work that is pleasing to look at, as well as educational. At 41, the artist says he feels like his life is just beginning.

Founder's Day happenings in Boonsboro are new to the weekend-long pike festivities.The National Pike, the nation's first federally funded highway, linked the Eastern United States with settlements west of the Ohio River. Counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio honor the road and its place in history with wagon trains and old-fashioned activities.

The local festival celebrating the road and its history links the communities along the way. The wagon train encampment will begin Friday evening at 6 at Mount Calvary Church of God, west of Clear Spring. The wagon train will set out Saturday morning, but the town will continue to celebrate through the day. Highlights include St. Paul's Church's 250th anniversary celebration, a parade through town, food, entertainment and a dance for all ages at 8 p.m.

The festival will progress as the wagon train makes stops which include Hagerstown City Park. It will camp for the night at Funkstown Community Park where activities, including musical and dance performances, will have been happening all day. The final leg of the wagon train's journey will begin as it leaves Funkstown via Alternate U.S. 40 Sunday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. - after a country breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. It will arrive in Boonsboro at Auction Square at noon and make its final stop at Shafer Park at 3 p.m.

 For information, call Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 301-791-3130 or 1-800-228-STAY.

Brochures listing National Pike Festival activities can be obtained at the bureau's welcome centers at 16 Public Square in Hagerstown and on U.S. 11 near McDonald's in Williamsport.

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