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Keedysville Ruritan Festival 'a nice community outing'

August 28, 2005|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

KEEDYSVILLE

Whether the Boy Scout perched on the net-encased platform was soaking wet from a recent plunge in the dunking booth or from the patchy rain showers was anyone's guess.

What was clear was that Saturday's dreary weather was not going to halt the Keedysville Ruritan Festival.

Attendees such as Kathy Mendiola, 42, of Sharpsburg, and her daughter Megan, 7, said the festival offered too many good things to pass up.

"It's a great neighborhood thing," Kathy Mendiola said. "The pies are wonderful and we love coming to the auction."

Megan Mendiola was partial to the children's games, particularly the duck pond.

"It's very fun," she said. "You can even hop in the pool."

The festivities - live music, bingo and raffles among them - began at Taylor Park around 1 p.m.

Jennifer Stultz, 29, of Keedysville took her two children, Isaiah, 4, and Hope, 2.

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"We don't live far away, so we like to bring 'em out and have fun," Jennifer Stultz said. "They love the park regardless, but all this makes it even better."

Carmen Milto, 58, of Jefferson, Md., said he was a new fan of the festival. Milto said he and a friend were driving by and decided to stop for a bite to eat.

"The food was excellent, especially the crab soup," Milto said. "I loved it. I'm trying to take home the last little bit they got."

Bob Merrell, 81, a Keedysville Ruritan member, was chairman of the festival. Merrell said a number of community groups participated in the event, either helping out with Ruritan activities or running booths of their own.

Mary Jo Clemens, 51, a resident of Hagerstown and a member of Salem United Methodist Church, operated a baked goods booth to raise money for a mission trip to Nicaragua.

Andy Hoffman, 56, of Hagerstown, is a leader of Boonsboro's Boy Scout Troop 20.

"Ruritan asked the Scouts to help with games and food concessions," Hoffman said. "They've been a supporter of Troop 20, so we signed up."

Sally Hull, a librarian at the Keedysville Library, set up a booth to sell used books.

"A lot of people in the neighborhood had books they didn't want," Hull said. "I said, 'Drop them off and we'll send the money to the library.'"

Bob Markle, 56, of Keedysville, is secretary of the Ruritan Club. Markle said the annual festival usually draws around 300 people and garners roughly $3,000, which is funneled back into the community through scholarships, holiday parties and contributions to local organizations.

Markle said the festival has become a local tradition.

"It's a good way to get together with people," he said. "It's just a nice community outing."

Matt Hull, 42, assistant mayor of Keedysville, said he regularly attends the festival with his wife, Sally, and their three children.

"It's marvelous," Hull said. "I look forward to it every year."

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