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Boonesborough Days featured old-fashioned fun

September 09, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Ellen Ewell of Winchester, Va. - the self-proclaimed Switchplate Lady - is sure she was first in her craft.

About 15 years ago, she saw molded plastic decorative light switch covers in a catalog and thought she could do better. She bought some plain metal ones wholesale and created her own.

At Ewell's booth near the entrance of Shafer Memorial Park for this weekend's Boonesborough Days, you can buy a kitten plate to cover your switch, or a lighthouse scene, or Impressionist lilies.

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"I have a stash of prints to die for," Ewell said.

If you had wandered through the park Saturday, you would have seen woodwork, flower arrangements, antiques and plenty more.

Commerce was encouraged. A whimsical sign at a wreath and candle stand read, "Your husband called. He said to buy anything you want!"

Nearby, just as Ewell predicted, was another light switch booth. The product was similar, but the taste was different. The themes included the Civil War, 1970s cars, beer logos, sports teams and superheroes.

Richard Klug of Frederick, Md., had a prime spot under a shady roof to sell his old wooden advertising boxes.

He said he has handled at least 2,700 of them since he started collecting 20 years ago. His wife told him it was time to pare down, so he started selling.

Klug's boxes advertised old-time products and companies such as "Glove" Brand Rubbers, Keystone Fish Co. of Erie, Pa. and Arbuckles Ground Coffees.

Others said, "None Such Mince Meat - like mother used to make" and "Dr. Hess Stock Food - a physician's prescription - produces health, flesh & milk."

Klug's wife, Betty, sells teddy bears and other handmade items. She and her husband, who used to make wooden toys, call their business Sew & Saw Crafts Co.

The paved path at Shafer Memorial Park leads visitors to and fro, through chair caners, walking stick makers, scarecrow vendors, kettle corn poppers and funnel cake friers.

Many booths sent off smells with alluring power - lilac and honeysuckle from the candle stand, sizzling beef from the Boonsboro Emergency Medical Services food counter, lobster and spinach dip mixes at the Blackstone Herb Cottage table.

"One beef sandwich!" Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Co. President Don Shumaker called over his shoulder to a griller after taking a customer's order.

Asked how sales had been, Shumaker said, "Wild. Very good."

First, the fire company ran out of beef, then chicken, but both supplies were replenished, he said.

The fire company also did good business on tickets for its gun raffle. One gun will be given away each day in November, Shumaker said.

Closer to Main Street, the Tri-State Farm Toy Collectors sold about 100 tickets for the pedal tractor drawing at the organization's annual farm toy show in November. President Leon Thomas of Hagerstown said the club sells about 1,800 to 2,000 tickets for the drawing each year. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded out of the proceeds.

Despite the thousands of people filtering in and out of the park, Saturday was solitary for a U.S. Marine Corps recruiter.

"How many boys you got today?" someone called to him.

"I ain't gone none yet," the recruiter replied. "But they'll come."

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