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Big crowd turns out for June Jubilee

June 11, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Dale Earnhardt car was in the lead, inches from the finish line, but the Bobby Labonte car snuck past and won.

The stock cars were miniature toy versions and went around a 16-foot-by-28-foot oval track at War Memorial Park. The racetrack was a new attraction for Sunday's June Jubilee 2000.

Tyler Mazer, 10, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., piloted the winning car. Zach Gregory, 12, of Martinsburg, steered the Earnhardt car.

Zach's friend, Felice Esposito, 13, of Martinsburg, had some early success controlling the Jeff Gordon car in the same heat, but it sputtered late. "My car ran out of batteries," he suggested afterwards.

Ted Morgan, the chairman of the jubilee, said about 2,000 to 3,000 people visited the park for the all-day event. They heard music, saw a ventriloquist, gazed at antique cars and ate French fries and pork tenderloins.

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If it hadn't been so hot, there might have been more people, Morgan said. Indeed, the park's pool was crowded.

It was a good day for people such as Marlisa and Robert Osborne, who drove 350 miles from Bristol, Tenn., to sell wooden wheelbarrows and children's benches and desks. Their business is called Heart Warming Country.

Marlisa Osborne said she and her husband arrived with a packed 26-foot truck, but were able to fit their leftover merchandise into a small trailer for the trip back home.

"We would do it again," she said.

It was also a good business day for Velda Hoffman of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and her company, Hoffman's Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes. People ate plenty early on, and "they wanted a lot of ice in their drinks," she said.

Morgan said there were 130 collectible cars entered in seven divisions, one of the largest turnouts the jubilee has had.

Across from a row of Chevrolets, Fords and Pontiacs sat Jim Salmon's green 1954 Nash Metropolitan. He and his wife, Libby, who was with him, live in Martinsburg.

Opening the hood to reveal a clean engine, Jim Salmon explained that his English car was also marketed as a Hudson.

David Knipple, 11, of Martinsburg, stuck with the smaller cars at the stock car track. As Jeff Gordon, he won one of the final races of the day.

David Haslacker, 14, of Martinsburg, said he had to talk his friend David Knipple into trying it. "I said, 'C'mon, man, it's cool.'"

Admission to the jubilee was free, but there were small fees for certain events and activities, such as the stock car races and pony rides. Morgan said the event annually raises about $5,000 for the park.

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