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Families, dancers enjoy day at the park

July 03, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

CASCADE, Md. - Promoters of Waynesboro Day at Pen Mar Park said they wanted an old-fashioned day of family activities, and a few of the several thousand attendees responded by donning various styles of early-1900s dress for the afternoon's dance contests.

Those contests and other dance demonstrations found people crowded shoulder to shoulder, clamoring for a peek of the dancers moving to the music of The Holders under the pavilion.

The forested park also served as the venue for picnics, a cake walk, children's activities and guest speakers at the first event.

"The park wants us to do it again next year," said John Shindledecker, an event organizer.

Waynesboro Day at Pen Mar Park, sponsored by Maxwell & Meyers LLP, tied into WaynesboroFest 2006, a 10-day celebration of the community's heritage. WaynesboroFest, a triennial event, runs through July 9.

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Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell recognized Waynesboro Day at Pen Mark Park. Ehrlich proclaimed July 2, 2006, "Waynesboro, Pa., Day at Pen Mar Park, Md.," and Rendell wrote a letter "congratulating us on promoting relationships between Pennsylvania and Maryland," Shindledecker said.

The Hub City Lindy Hop Club from Hagerstown demonstrated Savoy-style Lindy Hop and a Vaudeville-era Shim Sham in the afternoon, earning cheers and extended applause from the crowd.

"There's a really strong core of Lindy dancers in this area," said Allen Calvert of Rohrersville, Md.

The Savoy-style of the dance, popular in the 1930s, originated in the Savoy ballroom in Harlem, N.Y., he said.

"It takes a lot of energy; it really does," said Elaine Reedy of Lisbon, Md., who has been learning the style over the past several months and noted its aerobic benefits.

Dance partners Calvert and Reedy joined Bryan and Marilee Leavens of Monrovia, Md., in praising the activity's ability to connect people.

"We've met a lot of great people," Marilee Leavens said.

"It's just good, clean fun," Steve Springer of Hagerstown said.

He and his wife, Pam, started dancing seven years ago, take lessons twice a week and dance at Pen Mar Park often. Pen Mar Park hosts dancing every Sunday from May to October.

"It's money well-invested by the county," Calvert said.

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