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Festival parade is 'community thing'

October 21, 2002|by TARA REILLYtarar@herald-mail.com

In a parade filled with antique cars, marching bands and colorful floats, only one feature caught Joyce Card's attention Saturday afternoon - J. Eddie Peck.

Peck, who plays Dr. Jake Martin on the ABC soap opera "All My Children," was the grand marshal in the Grand Feature Parade, part of the 23rd Annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg, W.Va.

The parade was co-sponsored by the Martinsburg Lion's Club.

Shortly after an entourage of antique cars, Peck cruised along West King Street sitting atop the back seat of a black Mustang convertible, waving and smiling at spectators who had gathered at curbside.

As Peck's car got closer to Card, she quickly approached and asked for an autograph.

"Oh, what a hunk. It makes you drool even at 64," Card said after returning to her spot along the curb. "I love it. I can't get enough of it."

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Card's daughter, Laura Lowther, snapped pictures of Peck while he signed the autograph for her.

"Want to go to the end of the parade and catch him again?" Lowther joked.

Lowther said she planned to go to a one-hour photo shop later that day to get her pictures developed.

Card said meeting Peck made her week.

Not everyone who attended the parade turned out to see the "hunk."

Dorothy Branson of Martinsburg said she wasn't looking for anything in particular.

"I decided to come to enjoy the parade," said Branson, who attends every year.

Children sitting on the curb raced for candy thrown by parade participants while adults huddled under blankets eating hot dogs and drinking coffee.

Deborah Helman said she attended "because my husband wanted to come." However, she said she likes walking the parade route and running into people she knows and seeing the 4-H Club floats.

"I wanted to come out because it's a community thing," Helman's husband, Richard, said. "I wanted to be part of it.

The Martinsburg couple said they used to participate in the parade with Faith Christian Academy. Before they could explain, the couple was distracted by a silver Hyundai bearing "Shelley Moore Capito for U.S. Congress" signs. The attraction? The driver was wearing a gorilla mask, blasting music and waving to spectators.

"That's what I love. You see all kinds of craziness," Deborah Helman said.

Bob and Anise Frye of Martinsburg said they make the parade an annual event.

"It's just a routine for us," Bob Frye said. "We're local, and we just like to take it in."

Former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Mosely was the parade's sports grand marshal, and the Martinsburg High School Marching Band was the host band.

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