Strawberry Festival invites flavor of summer

May 04, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

WILLIAMSPORT - "I need 'the works,'" echoed Betty Gantz, 18, a dietary aide at Homewood at Williamsport.

Gantz took orders at the dessert table at Homewood's Strawberry Festival on Saturday, May 1, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., while her co-workers whipped up shortcake, ice cream and strawberry glaze topped with whipped cream - the crowd-pleaser known as "the works."

Anne Whitman, director of marketing and sales at Homewood, said, in addition to the sweet concoction, the festival offers a hearty supply of strawberry ice cream, strawberry shortcake and fresh strawberries.

"To us, strawberries signal a break in winter and the first fruits of summer," Whitman said. "Goodbye winter, hello spring, come on summer."


Shannon Naylor, 32, volunteer coordinator at Homewood, said the festival - now in its eighth year - began as a simple strawberry sale. With the gradual addition of craft vendors, barbecue fare, children's activities and musical entertainment, the festival has evolved into an event that sprawls across the Homewood grounds with 54 vendors and draws more than 1,000 people.

Wendy Biller and her son, Trevor Biller, 6, of Waynesboro, Pa., heard about the festival and decided to check it out. They had some strawberry shortcake for lunch and planned to hit the crafts and games.

"We didn't even know where we were coming, but we stopped and asked directions," Wendy Biller said.

Some attractions for children were pony rides, sand art, balloon animals and face painting. Naylor said games at the festival - like the bean bag toss and fishing pond - were provided by local Girl Scout troops.

Dawn Lowenhaupt, 49, of Hagerstown, ran a vendor booth for her business, The Homemaker's Idea Company. She said participation in the festival is a nice way to drum up business, get recruits and show bookings.

Heidi Moats, 21, attended the festival along with her mother, Sylvia Moats, and her 10-month-old niece, Allyson VanMeter. Heidi and Sylvia, who are both employees of Homewood, said it was nice seeing residents of the retirement community out enjoying the festivities.

"It's a big event for residents," Heidi Moats said. "Family and staff are really cooperative in helping people get out for it."

Moats said some employees even volunteer on their day off to help residents take part in the event.

Linda Maenner, 49, and her son Jason Maenner, 28, of Hedgesville, W.Va., spent the day with Linda's parents, Albert and Dorothy Gantt, who both reside at Home-wood. Albert Gantt, 85, said he splurged and had strawberry ice cream for lunch.

Dorothy Gantt, 82, shopped for a new flower arrangement for her dining room table. She came away pleased with a bouquet of seashell and silk flowers.

"I never saw flowers made of seashells before. I thought it was different and I like it." she said.

Naylor said proceeds from the festival are minimal.

"This is not a moneymaker for Homewood," Naylor said. "It's something we do for Homewood residents and for the community of Williamsport to give something back."

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