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Show is food for thought

November 07, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@herald-mail.com

On stage, in front of a live audience, Elizabeth Blackburn exudes the giddiness of a local cable-access food-show host.

When the time in the spotlight is over, she is not much different.

"Every day that I get up is my favorite day," Blackburn said Sunday.

Food items - include shish kebabs of fruit - were part of Blackburn's repertoire in a more-than-hourlong show highlighting her specialty - floral design. More than 120 women attended the Greens Show at the Women's Club, said event co-chair Holly Person.

The event benefits Crossroads Garden Club, which is open to Women's Club members, Person said.

Women in pantsuits and jackets oohed and ahhed as Blackburn and Phyllis Miller, her boss at Panhandle Gifts & Floral Design, demonstrated how to make wreaths, mini Christmas trees and centerpieces from live greenery.

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The co-owner of the Martinsburg, W.Va., store, Miller played straightwoman as Blackburn entertained the crowd assembled in front of the green- and red-draped stage in the Women's Club Auditorium.

"The next particular piece, you might say I'm going off my rocker, but I'm really not, I'm climbing up my tower - with fruit," Blackburn announced before putting two towers of shish kebab-speared fruit on the green-covered table in front of her.

The towers of oranges, pomegranates and apples stacked one on top of another on a wood platform failed to inspire the hearty applause that accompanied many of Blackburn's creations. She didn't miss a beat.

"Is this wild or what, girls?" Blackburn asked.

"Is that fun or what?"

Chuckles from the audience gave Blackburn her answer.

"'Or what,' they said," Blackburn said, in interpretation of the silence.

Blackburn, who has been a floral designer "for a lot of years," said she enjoys sharing tricks of the trade with other people. Women who attended the $10-a-ticket event said they were eager to go home and try what they had learned.

One young woman played Christmas carols on the piano in the auditorium, and others said it is not too early to begin planning for the holidays.

A former Greens Show presenter, Sukey Rankin of Hagerstown, said Blackburn's performance put her in the spirit.

"She did a fabulous job, she was a lot of fun, a lot of inspiration. Makes you want to go home and start decorating," Rankin said.

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