Strawberries gone, but festival went on


WILLIAMSPORT - Mark and Alicia Baran and their three children set off to Homewood at Williamsport on Saturday afternoon, May 6, in pursuit of strawberry treats.

Regrettably, they found none.

"We were really disappointed," Alicia Baran said. "They ran out of strawberries!"

The Barans' experience points to the popularity of the Strawberry Festival hosted annually by the retirement village.

Anne Whitman, director of marketing and sales at Homewood at Williams-port, said event workers sold more strawberries this year than ever.

"We had 100 flats of strawberries and they were all gone by 1 p.m.," Whitman said.

The festival, now in its 10th year, ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Jacob and Austin Moffitt, 2 and 5, of Hagerstown, arrived in plenty of time to savor some homemade strawberry ice cream. Their father, Tim Moffitt, provided musical entertainment at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2:15 p.m. Meanwhile, their mother, Shannon Moffitt, treated them to the festival's many attractions.


Whitman said Homewood tries to give the festival a "hometown" feel.

"We want to offer the kinds of things people do in a hometown - a street fair, a craft fair - to thank the people around us for being such wonderful neighbors, Whitman said.

Mark Baran said he enjoyed the "countrified" live, musical entertainment, while his wife, Alicia, said she liked the agreeable mood of the festival.

"I just like the sweetness and the simplicity of it," she said.

Starlene Hamilton, 43, of Williamsport, shopped around at the 57 vendor booths with her husband, Ian, 41, and their 20-month-old son, Isaiah. Among her favorite finds were some washcloths and dish towels she said were like the ones her mother and her grandmother used to make.

Mabel Chamblin, 93, a resident at Homewood, raved about the festival's barbecue chicken and the size of the crowd.

"It was a wonderful lunch," Chamblin said. "People have a marvelous time here. My golly, there are so many people there is no place left to park!"

Toby Clarke, 36, of Martinsburg, W.Va., took her daughter, Jessica, 3, to the festival.

"(Jessica) loved the pony ride, the balloon animals, the tattoos - really she liked everything," Toby Clarke said.

Troops 255 and 647 of the Girl Scouts of Shawnee Council Inc. provided children's games, including a beanbag toss, a ring toss and a duck hunt at the festival.

Amanda Cooper, 14, of Cascade, a member of Troop 647, said she enjoyed seeing children have so much fun.

"This is an old-fashioned kind of get-together," Whitman said. "We've grown an event that everyone really enjoys, that's perfect for the family."

Roughly 1,200 people attended the event and proceeds surpassed $10,000. Whitman said the money will go to the Benevolent Endowment Fund of the Homewood Foundation to provide ongoing care for Homewood residents who, through no fault of their own, have exhausted all of their assets.

"They will never be asked to leave. We feel a sense of responsibility to take care of our residents," Whitman said.

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