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Town gets better one pie at a time

August 06, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

POND BANK, PA. - What is the cost of an improved community?

In Pond Bank, the going rate is about 130 pies.

Six times a year, The Pond Bank Improvement Association hosts a fruitful festival to celebrate the community's bounty while raising money for local improvements.

On Saturday, residents of the Pond Bank area hosted a peach festival. The third festival this year, the peach festival is part of an ongoing community fundraiser that began more than 50 years ago.

Residents created the festivals as a way to raise money for the area water supply, Fred Rock said. Rock, president of the Pond Bank Improvement Association, said that the festivals have a long tradition in the community, one which he continues as president.

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The money raised at the festival will go toward the current project of the Pond Bank Improvement Association.

"The money from today helps pay for the street lights," Rock said.

In addition to selling pies, the association also sells sundaes and a variety of sandwiches at the festival. Ommir Rock, lifetime resident of the area and the unofficial chef for the day, estimated that the association will make about $1,200 from Saturday's festival.

"We'd make more if the music was here," he said, adding that a band usually provides music for the festival and draws "quite a crowd."

Despite the absence of live music, Fred Rock said the flow of people was steady.

Most of the people who enjoyed a slice of fresh peach pie or a sundae are regulars to the festivals. Shirley Dill, a resident of Penn National, was back for seconds with her family.

"I bought a pie earlier," she said. Dill and her sister, Pat Wagner, come to almost every festival.

"They have such good cooks here in Pond Bank," Wagner said.

But not everyone who attended Saturday's festival ate the peaches.

"I am allergic to peaches," said Morgan Lucas of Tyrone, Pa. "So I just had ice cream."

While the theme of Saturday's festival was peaches, each person had their favorite festival fruit.

"Peach is my favorite," said Ray Rock, board member of the Pond Bank Improvement Association. "With strawberry a close second"

"I like strawberry," Fred Rock said.

"Apple, definitely apple," Wagner said. "They make dumplings."

"Apple ... peach ... it is all good," Dill said.

While slicing one of the last pies, Ommir Rock said that he anticipated selling out of pie.

"Our 130 pies are almost gone," he said.

With three hours left in the festival, he smiled and said, "When the pie is gone, they can eat the sundaes."

The Pond Bank Improvement Association will host another peach festival Aug. 26.

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