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Smithsburg Pride Days opens at new venue

July 21, 2007|By PEPPER BALLARD

SMITHSBURG ? Twice as many vendors and people than in years past turned out Saturday for the 14th annual Smithsburg Pride Days celebration, which was held for the first time this year at Smithsburg Veterans Park, organizers said.

Mayor Mildred L. "Mickey" Myers said the park provided more space and more options for the event. In prior years, vendors set up on Maple Avenue, one of the town's main streets, she said.

"Change is always hard ... Here, we have a place to grow," Myers said.

The town itself has grown to a population of between 2,500 and 2,800 over the past several years as people have moved to the small community from the Washington, D.C., area, she said. In that time, the divide between hometown residents and new residents has gotten smaller, Myers said.

"It has been improving over the years," she said. "I don't think there's a sense of old town and new town anymore."

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Churches, service clubs and other organizations set up shop beneath tents throughout the park, which was the final stop in a parade earlier in the day.

The Smithsburg Public Library celebrated its one-year anniversary, and the town planned to have a fireworks display for the first time as part of the event Saturday night.

All of the fanfare was fine with Mary McCleaf, a Troop 255 Girl Scout, who was out selling lemonade to raise money for a dance classmate with leukemia.

Mary, 11, said she looked into Alex's Lemonade Stand for an idea for the fundraiser, but wasn't going through the organization because she wanted to make sure her proceeds benefited someone from the area. Donations from the sale of her lemonade were to benefit Katie McCracken, her My Dance Studio classmate.

Meanwhile, 9-year-old Timmy Vorce, of Smithsburg Cub Scout Pack 14, shivered on a platform above a dunking pool, in which he plummeted about five times.

"I haven't ever seen one like this before," Timmy said as his teeth chattered. "Usually on TV, they have eels and stuff in them."

William Riker, Cub Scout Pack 14 leader, said he noticed a "big-time difference in the turnout" this year. The event is the biggest fundraiser for the pack, he said. Last year, the scouts raised $700 from food sales, but Riker said he hoped to make "at least double that."

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