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Festival-goers scream over ice cream rules

June 04, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

ROHRERSVILLE

R.W. Davis stood wringing his hands in the shade of a tree at Rohrersville Ruritan Park. He was livid.

For more than 30 years, the Rohrersville Ruritan has hosted its annual strawberry festival fundraiser, featuring strawberry shortcake and homemade strawberry ice cream.

At Saturday's event, due to regulations conveyed by the Washington County Health Department, the club was not serving its traditional homemade ice cream, Davis said.

"I drove down here for some homemade ice cream," said Davis, 75, of Halfway. "I've come here for years."

Davis said he thinks the regulations are an unreasonable blow to local farmers who often make homemade ice cream.

Bob Elliott, 53, of Boonsboro, also was aggravated by the policy.

"We've come here many times, but this is the first time without that good ice cream," Elliott said. "No one ever died of it."

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Lloyd Smith, president of the Rohrersville Ruritan, said regulations permit homemade ice cream that is prepared using a prepackaged mix, rather than the "from scratch" kind of ice cream the club had been concocting for years.

"We tried the mix one year, but we didn't like it, so we just bought it this year," said Smith, 60, of Hagerstown.

The club settled on Hershey's Ice Cream as a substitute. Festival-goers gave it mixed reviews.

"It's good," said Carol Elliott, 50, who had some of the ice cream on top of a piece of strawberry shortcake. "It just isn't as good as the homemade."

Lori Dagenhart, who attends the festival each year, said she liked it.

"Hershey's was a good choice to replace the homemade ice cream," said Dagenhart, 42, of Sharpsburg.

New festival-goers, having nothing to compare it to, said they were satisfied.

Les and Bonny Stotler, 39 and 46, went to the festival for the first time with their son Nicholas, 2. Les Stotler said his family enjoyed their strawberry-slathered vanilla ice cream. Nicholas enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he burst into smiles and applause between bites.

Ice cream notwithstanding, attendees seemed to find plenty to please them at the event. The Ruritan offered festival fare including burgers and fries, local churches provided children's games and the Rohrersville Band played crisp, lively concert band music.

Eva Atkinson of New Market, Md., said she and her son, Joedy, 26, went to the festival to hear her husband, Bob, play clarinet in the band.

Dawn Reidy and her son Sean, 12, of Hedgesville, W.Va., stumbled upon the festival by accident when they went to watch a soccer game at the park. Dawn Reidy, who said she is from the Baltimore area, said she loved the "feel" of the festival.

"This was a great big surprise for us because we're coming to watch a soccer game and we're here at a strawberry festival," Reidy said. "It's wonderful, like a homey feeling. It's so cute. It makes you smile really hard."

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