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Auxiliary proves it's still a picnic without the ants

January 17, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - Lillie Baker stood with her hand on the sweet wheel and a gleam in her eye.

"OK, everybody. Are you ready? Here we go again," said Baker, 84, of Hagers-town, as she let the gaming wheel rip.

One bettor chose the lucky number and walked away with a homemade baked good, while others slapped down more quarters in hopes of satiating sweet teeth.

Baker, a member of Dixon-Troxell Unit 211 Auxiliary of Funkstown American Legion, operated just one of many attractions at the indoor picnic Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15, at the American Legion.

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In addition to digging into a fried chicken meal with sides, sodas and draft beer, the roughly 200 attendees focused on diversions such as tip jars, door prizes, a cutlery sale and televised football on a big screen.

Baker's daughter, Lori Adams, 46, of Martinsburg, W.Va., is auxiliary president. Adams said the group holds indoor picnics in November, January and March. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children 7 and younger.

Betty Rockwell, 74, of Hagerstown, is a 13-year member of the auxiliary who attended Sunday's event.

"I like the idea of how cheap it is. I play the jars and have just a good day here," Rockwell said.

While the indoor picnic didn't offer swimming or ballgames characteristic of traditional outdoor summer picnics, young attendees were undeterred.

Following their meal, Julie Ferguson, 9, and her cousin Grant Baker, 11, both of Hagerstown, challenged one another to a tabletop game of paper football. The two said they've gone to indoor picnics before with their grandparents.

"We come here and just hang out and talk with our friends and spend time with our family," Julie said.

"It's fun," Grant said.

Their grandfather, Raymond Miley, 83, of Hagerstown, is a 42-year member of the post. He said his favorite part of indoor picnics is playing tip jars.

His wife, Mary Miley, said she likes the picnics for a reason all her own, "Mainly because I don't have to cook dinner."

Adams said the indoor picnics are a 40-year-old tradition, and she attributed their success to uniqueness.

"You don't see a whole lot of indoor chicken picnics," she said.

Pearl Bumbaugh, first vice president of the auxiliary, said the picnics have been a solid and consistent fundraising event.

"Anything we can do to help children, youth, community services, and for our veterans, for Americanism and education. That's what we use the money for," said Bumbaugh, 64, of Hagerstown.

Adams said auxiliary indoor picnics typically raise between $800 and $1,000. Projects and charities such as hurricane relief efforts, food banks, children's parties, scholarships, fire companies and veterans' groups have all benefited from auxiliary contributions, Adams said.

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