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Mountain Top Heritage Days celebrates two-state community

June 21, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. -- Mountain Top Heritage Days continued its two-weekend celebration of history and community Saturday with music, food and the revving engines of entrants in its inaugural car show.

The overwhelming success of the festival in its first two years convinced organizers to separate the past from the present by adding a second weekend of festivities dedicated to the rich history of the mountain that is shared by Blue Ridge Summit and Cascade.

Gary Muller, president of the One Mountain Foundation, which hosts the event, estimated that almost 2,000 people had come to the festival by midmorning on Saturday.

So much has changed since the festival started in 2006, Muller said.

The small festival of crafts, food and historical lectures has grown to six days filled with crafts, food, lectures, a car show, an auction, musical acts, horse rides, games and tours.

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"The community supports this so well that we are starting to attract people from other areas," Muller said. "We are unique, and while we are used to it up here, it intrigues others."

The Mason-Dixon line divides the northern tip of the Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountain Range between Pennsylvania and Maryland, but up on the mountain, the line is blurred by the friendships of those who live here.

"We are one mountain," said Jeff Coyle, chairman of the Heritage Day Committee.

Standing side by side, Coyle, who lives in Maryland, and Muller, who lives in Pennsylvania, said they might live in different states, but they are residents of the same community.

The inaugural car show attracted 42 automobile owners from the Tri-State area.

Many owners, such as Tammy Fraley and her husband, Rich, came to show their vehicles somewhere they never had shown them before.

"This is great," Tammy Fraley said. "It is nice to come out with friends and look at the cars, but when it is for a good cause, it is even better."

Two groups were raising money at the festival -- the One Mountain Foundation and its partner, the Cascade Sons of the American Legion.

For three years, the Legion has raffled a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to benefit the Fisher House, a foundation that provides lodging for families of wounded soldiers near military hospitals.

This year, Post Commander Wayne Schrader said the Legion was raffling two 2008 motorcycles with the hope of raising $20,000 for the Fisher House.

The money raised by the foundation through vendor fees, donations, an auction and the car show will stay on the mountain through donations to local schools, Boy and Girl Scout programs and civic organizations, Muller said.

Mountain Top Heritage Days continues next weekend at Fort Ritchie in Cascade with historical lectures, tours, a scavenger hunt and fireworks.

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