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Smithsburg Historical Society lures new members with ice cream social

August 21, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

SMITHSBURG -- With bluegrass music emanating from a new gazebo and new membership forms rolling in, the Smithsburg Historical Society's annual ice cream social went off as smoothly as the peach ice cream members dished out went down.

The event, held Wednesday behind the town museum at 20 E. Water St., is one of three social gatherings the society hosts each year to encourage new members to get involved, Smithsburg Historical Society President Mike Rohrer said.

"We try to have a theme to each one," Rohrer said.

The group, which focuses on Washington County area history, meets on the third Wednesday every other month. Traditionally, the August event features peaches, the December event is a holiday party, and the June event features strawberries, Rohrer said. The October, February and April meetings feature guest speakers, he said.

About 30 people, including current historical society members and a few new recruits, attended Wednesday's ice cream social.

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Ken Graber, 52, who lives outside Smithsburg, said he signed up to join the society Wednesday at the encouragement of a friend who is a member.

"It's always good to help the local community preserve history," Graber said.

Membership costs $5 for an individual and $10 for a family, Rohrer said. Guests are always welcome at meetings and events, he said.

Historical Society members said the area's rich Civil War, railroad and Native American history provides plenty of topics to study and has even attracted history buffs to the area.

Toby Law, the society's vice president, said he and his brother, Tom Law, moved to Smithsburg from Prince George's County because of the area's history, and member Jeni Scarisbrick said it influenced her decision to move to Smithsburg from California.

"It's great that for such a small town, there is that much participation," Scarisbrick said.

The society's next meeting, Oct. 15, will feature a talk by local collector Richard Helfrich about memorabilia and artifacts from the old Hagerstown fair, Toby Law said.

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