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A perfect day to be in Halfway

May 30, 2004|By TAMELA BAKER

HALFWAY

Dick Masters took a minute Saturday at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park to express his gratitude for the perfect weather.

It was the first time in several years, said the Halfway Lions Club secretary, that the group hadn't had to worry about rain spoiling its Memorial Day weekend agenda.

Saturday, after all, was no ordinary day in the park.

The 25th annual Halfway Park Days festival kicked off with crowds flocking to the park for crafts, funnel cakes and other guilty pleasures.

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The park's jogging paths were lined with vendors hawking the usual array of floral arrangements, ceramic figures, baskets, candles and wood crafts. A large number of wooden signs were available; some of the more clever ones included a mock merchant's shingle describing "Spencer's Spectacles - Seeing is Believing" and one featuring a grape cluster that invited takers to "Pick me Squeeze me Make me wine."

It's just not a summer festival without some playthings for little ones, and the novelty-du-jour appeared to be yo-yo balloons - small balloons filled with air and a little water, with a long rubber strip attached to the top. They work just like yo-yos, and 5-year-old Justin Walters of Williamsport stopped to try one out.

Though he seemed to have a little trouble getting started, he insisted it wasn't hard, and soon he was happily amusing himself with his new toy.

"Kids love these things," said Bob Dahlhamer of Hagerstown, who, with his wife Judy, was selling the balloons. And anybody can master them, he added.

Once in Mercersburg, Pa., "I taught a blind lady to do it," he said. "After about 10 tries she could do it."

Food vendors offering sandwiches, sodas and ice cream surrounded a row of picnic tables. One vendor offered "hurricane cakes," fried dough confections differing from funnel cakes in that they had a solid base for holding fruit fillings.

Tom Renwick of Hagerstown sat at one of the tables with his wife, finishing off lunch before venturing over to visit the craft vendors. "This is our first time here," he said. "We just moved to Hagerstown in the fall."

The festival made a good first impression on the former Frederick County resident. "I think it's great," he said, and his wife contemplated inviting some friends to join them for the festivities next year.

Halfway Park Days is a major fund-raiser for the Lions Club, which sponsors the two-day event every year. Masters and Clare Newcomer, the club's president-elect, said they usually clear about $10,000. That money is used for community projects and scholarships for students at Williamsport and South Hagerstown High Schools, they said.

South High's "Midnighters Jazz" ensemble performed jazz and swing music Saturday afternoon, and Newcomer said entertainment will continue today with oldies rock from The Holders.

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