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Pride Days draws a crowd

July 19, 1998

photo: MIKE CRUPI / staff photographer

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Pride daysBy GUY FLETCHER / Staff Writer

SMITHSBURG - Hundreds of town residents and others came together Saturday for Smithsburg Pride Days, an annual town party featuring food, crafts and plenty of local spirit.

"It's sort of a get-together for the families," said Charlie Slick, one of the event's coordinators.

Out in the streets, people nibbled on funnel cakes, bought snow cones and pushed strollers. Some participated in country line dancing or watched the morning parade through town.

One of the highlights of the two-day event is the Civil War re-enactment and encampment, where people can get a close-up look at how life was during the war.

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"It's something that brings in a lot of people from other places because there are a lot of people interested in the Civil War," said Nick Shillinger, general coordinator for Pride Days.

Halfway resident Ronald Wolford attended the event to display part of his collection of thousands of Civil War bullets and other relics he has collected over decades. Wolford has stories about every bullet or button in his collection.

"It's educating people. That's what it should all be about," he said.

The origin of the Pride Days goes back to the town's 175th anniversary celebration in 1988. That celebration went so well that organizers later used it as a model for the annual Pride Days to bring people together and to raise money for local organizations.

The event is in its fifth year, with organizations from churches to band boosters participating.

"Everybody's involved in some way or another," Slick said.

He said one of the biggest attractions is Saturday night's street dance, which brings together people of all ages, dancing to a variety of music until midnight.

"Everybody gets together and you get to meet new people," said Lola McPherson, a town resident.

"You feel young again," said Tinna Hamel, McPherson's sister.

Many people believe Pride Days - with its face painting, pony rides and dunking boot - typify the small-town atmosphere that attracts them so much to Smithsburg.

"It's real cozy," town resident Barbara Pastwa said of the fair. "It's not so spread out that it's an ordeal."

Glenn Reynolds, a native of Smithsburg, now lives in Halfway. But the Pride Days are another reminder how much he and his wife, Lisa, want to move back to the town.

"It's more peaceful. It's more country," he said.

Smithsburg Pride Days will continue today from noon to 5 p.m. in the center of town. Today's Civil War re-enactment will take place near Smithsburg High School at 1 p.m.

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