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Harvest hoedown at park a hit

October 03, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - The colorful witch balls, fairy orbs and wishing stars hanging from string inside a tent Saturday at Williamsport's Byron Memorial Park weren't enough to hold off the rain, but the spirit still was festive.

Crowds of people turned out for the Williamsport Ministerium's ninth Harvest Hoedown at the park, a fund-raiser for the Williamsport Food Bank.

Eleven churches participated in the event with the goal of collecting 8,500 pounds of food and $12,000, ministerium President Mark Sandell said. Sandell is pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, one of the churches participating in the event.

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By 3:30 p.m., 6,273 pounds of food had been collected. Sandell said it would take about three weeks before the ministerium would know how much money was raised.

The hoedown featured several children's events, including train rides, scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and egg-throwing contests, as well as food and craft booths.

Randy Breeden of Williamsport sold various hand-blown and hand-pressed glass art made by Kitras Art Gas of Fergus, Ontario.

Included in Breeden's collection were Olde English Witch Balls - colored glass balls that, according to folklore, are supposed to trap evil spirits, curses and bad luck inside and prevent them from entering homes.

Breeden said the balls, which typically are hung in windows, and the other glass decorations for sale are popular with people of all ages.

"It's extremely popular," he said. "I've been around the craft shows as a buyer, and I've never seen anything like this."

Breeden said he sells the products under the name Arrius at various events and shows.

Elsewhere at the hoedown, children and their parents scraped up straw and stuffed it in pants, pantyhose and shirts to create their own scarecrows.

Sandell said participants paid $5 for a scarecrow kit and then were allowed to take their creations home.

Kathe Dell of Williamsport and her daughter, Trisha Roy, who lives near Winchester, Va., sold tickets for the various children's games and attractions.

All activities cost 25 cents each.

"It's been wonderfully busy," Dell said. "It's been good."

"I think the kids had as much fun as we did, too," Roy said.

Roy said children could participate in all games and activities for about $3.

"It's pretty nice," Cindy Fulk said of the event.

Fulk, of Hagerstown, was at the hoedown with her 4-year-old son, Jacob, and her three grandchildren.

"He likes the train ... 'cause he's crazy about trains," Fulk said of Jacob, who was shooting string out of a can in every direction.

"I think it's awesome," said Shannon Miley of Berkeley Springs, W.Va. "I think the town and everyone is really supporting it well."

Miley's husband, Jeremy, performed with his band, For His Glory, at the hoedown.

"I like the games for the kids," Shannon Miley said. "As a parent who wants to come to a feature like this, you need something to keep your kids occupied."

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