Carnations grace Canal Apple Days

September 12, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

HANCOCK - There was something new Saturday to go with the country crafts and barbecue chicken that have become the hallmark of Hancock Canal Apple Days - carnations.

People were carrying the long-stemmed red and white flowers everywhere at the Widmyer Park festival.

"I think people are really shocked because they're free," said festival-goer Beverly Kesecker, 40, of Hancock.

The organization behind the flower giveaway was a fledgling Southern Baptist church in Hancock.

Church members gave out 1,400 flowers with service schedules attached.

"We're a brand new church. Not many people know we're here," said member Jimmie Stephens of Little Orleans.

Stephens, the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister, found the church after moving here from Texas about a year ago.

The 43-member church was started in August 1997 by the Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) Baptist Church and a group of Hagerstown-area Southern Baptists.


Services are held in a former dress shop at 180 W. Main St., next to Sheetz.

In addition to the church, there were more than 80 vendors and community groups at the 22nd annual Lions and Lioness Club-sponsored event.

"Basically, people just like to come for the fellowship of it all," said Jane Mossellem, 63, of Mercersburg, Pa.

A few thousand people came to socialize, listen to country music and, of course, eat.

St. Peter's Catholic Church members made about 3,500 of their famous apple dumplings, said Mossellem, one of many volunteer bakers who worked for four days.

"The dumplings are known all over. People come from Washington and Baltimore to get them," she said.

Hancock Lions Club member Bill Golden yelled out "barbecue chicken!" and a line began to form near the pits.

By the end of the festival, club members will have grilled 1,200 halves of chicken, using the same recipe they have used since the 1970s.

"When you consider it's all volunteers, it's kind of remarkable, really," said event Chairman Larry Gerber.

The country music band Timberline, of Frostburg, Md., sang "We're From the Country and We Like it That Way."

Kicking off the community gathering was an 800-person parade, ending at the park.

Southern Fulton (Pa.) High School won the $250 prize for best band.

Other first-place winners included Hancock Brownie Troop 613 for marching, the Hancock Rotary Club's float and The Revengers majorette and drum group.

The festival concludes this afternoon with a classic car show.

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