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Fahrney-Keedy festival raises money, awareness of retirement community

August 05, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

BOONSBORO - It was hard for Jane Bowman to give up her labor of love at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village a few years ago.

If the 85-year-old retired nurse's aide didn't experience some heart trouble, she insists she still would be driving residents from the continuing care retirement community to area medical centers for treatment.

"When I was driving, you didn't have the lift," said Bowman while taking a break from working at the lemonade stand at the Boonsboro community's third annual heritage festival.

A resident of the retirement community's independent living village for 20 years, Bowman retired in 2004 after 32 years.

"It was hard to give it up," Bowman said.

The Washington County native loved to drive, but she didn't talk much while she was behind the wheel, taking patients to Hagerstown, Frederick, Md., Martinsburg, W.Va., and other destinations.

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"I had to keep my mind on driving," Bowman said.

On Saturday, Bowman tended to the sugar, lemons, concentrate and "a good shake" required for a thirst quenching cup of lemonade.

"I think it's our biggest year so far," Jay L. Shell, president and chief executive officer of Fahrney-Keedy, said of the event, which has been carried over from the community's centennial celebration in 2005.

Shell said about 35 vendors took part in the festival, which featured a car show, barbecue and Civil War re-enactors with the 61st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a Union soldier group based in Gettysburg, Pa.

Proceeds from the festival benefit the nonprofit retirement community's benevolent fund, and Shell said the event also is designed to raise awareness of the services it provides.

Dress in period uniforms, Capt. Rob Wingert joked that the group agreed to take part in the event after being assured by Doug Ridenour, the retirement community's director of plant operations, that a shade tree was available for his men.

"We thought this was a good event ... We'd never been here, never done anything at a facility like this," Wingert said before talking a little about how Union soldiers were fed "hardtack" - flour, water and salt baked into biscuits - aka "tooth breakers" and "worm castles."

For Sam and Tammy Varner, the festival offered the Martinsburg couple the opportunity to sell balloons twisted and shaped into characters to raise money for a new puppet stage at the church they attend in Hillsboro, Va.

Like Bowman, Sam Varner said he didn't mind Saturday's heat.

"I'm on vacation in Antarctica," Varner said. "My body's just here."

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