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Holiday market a hit for all ages

December 09, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Whether it's doing the math by hand or hand stitching every ornament she sells, Margaret Pheil stands to remind the community the Hagerstown City Farmers Market is a lasting personal experience.

Pheil, 80, has been a vendor at the City Farmers Market for 50 years. She said she is proud of the Christmas ornaments - made of pearls, sequins and straight pins - that dangle for sale in a standing display on her table.

The annual Holiday Craft Bazaar Sunday at the City Farmers Market brought in more Christmas shoppers this year than last, said Margaret Cronauer, owner and manager of Basket Celebrations, which sponsored the event.

Cronauer said she and her family placed various advertisements for the bazaar, which led 100 people through the doors in the first hour of the six-hour event.

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Cheryl Morgan, 44, said the ads worked. She came out Sunday to help her mother, Shirley Rutherford, 66, with her craft table. Last year Morgan said people were more sad and quiet due to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

This year, she said the Christmas spirit is alive and people are a lot more friendly.

"It's a better feeling all around," said Morgan.

She said also last year temperatures were in the 70s, warming people against the winter spirit.

"I think the cold weather and the snow has a little to do with it," she said.

Debi Serig, co-owner of Jeff and Debi's Grill, said the Sunday event fueled her Christmas spirit and kept her husband close to her.

"(Jeff) is so excited, he was going to go home to watch the football game, but he stayed just to help," she said.

Serig said the grill, which serves up country breakfast complete with flapjacks, panhaus and puddin', also serves up "reasonable" breakfast prices. A plate filled to the edges runs for $2.

Every table was sold for the holiday bazaar at the 210 year-old City Farmers Market - usually open only on Saturdays - the oldest farmer's market in Hagerstown, said Charles Cronauer, 70.

Esther Boyd, 76, of Hagerstown, is a crochet vendor now, but remembers the City Market from another angle - one much lower. As a child, Boyd came with her mother and grandmother when they sold wares there.

She remains part of the woodwork for one simple reason - conversation.

Serig agreed. She said she has a string of regular customers she knows by name and pleasure that come on Saturdays.

Cindy Bonebrake-Smith, 51, of Edgemont, has a table where she sells pet toys, beds and homegrown catnip.

She has a photo album opened on the table filled with snapshots of her customers' pets.

"It's very important that I get to meet people who love animals," she said. "I hear a lot of good stories."

Rosemary Doleman-Lucas, 56, of Hagerstown, has been coming to the market and bazaar since she was little, too, but as a customer.

"I've been looking around for different things," she said.

Doleman-Lucas had just bought blue pinecones to decorate her home.

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