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Hundreds 'Have a Berry Nice Day' at Homewood event

May 05, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

WILLIAMSPORT - Pam Markley's T-shirt said it all - Have a Berry Nice Day.

So did the smile that followed a taste of strawberry ice cream.

"I shouldn't eat this," the Hagerstown resident said. "But it's so good. I just couldn't resist."

Markley wasn't alone. Strawberry ice cream, shortcake and pies attracted hundreds of people Saturday to Homewood of Williamsport's annual Strawberry Festival.

"We've been doing this for 10 years," said Anne Whitman, director of marketing at Homewood. "It's our gift to the community. We're thankful for all the support we receive, so this is an opportunity to show our appreciation."

Whitman said the festival has grown from a small local event to a festival that draws about 1,200 people each year.

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"I think it's popular because everyone recognizes this is a good place for family fun," she said. "And after a long winter, I think people are ready to enjoy the outdoors."

The festival featured live entertainment, pony rides, games and more than 50 craft vendors who offered everything from stuffed toys to floral arrangements.

"But the star of the festival is the strawberry," Whitman said.

Because it's too early for local berries, Whitman said Homewood placed its orders with growers in Florida and South Carolina.

"The strawberries arrived on flats, and were washed and capped by our resident volunteers," she said.

Sam Lowery of Greencastle, Pa., said he would buy a flat of strawberries if he could.

"But I'll settle for a slice of strawberry pie," he said. "And maybe after I walk around a bit, I'll try the ice cream. You have to sample it all, you know."

"Everyone wants strawberries," said Estela Cazin, dietitian at Homewood who was helping out at one of the food booths. "We've been very busy. In fact, during the first hour, we sold half of what we have to offer."

Proceeds from the strawberry food items will go to the Homewood Building Fund, Cazin said.

Tammy Haley of Hagerstown said she has attended the festival over the past several years, and considers it the official start of the area festival season.

"I love this sort of thing," she said. "I can check out the crafts, my husband likes the music and the kids are happy because they get ice cream. Everybody wins."

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