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A berry good time

June 28, 2009|By ERin CUNNINGHAM

WILLIAMSPORT -- Ninety-year-old Dortha Wolford and several of her family members sampled strawberry treats and listened to music Sunday during Williamsport Retirement Village's annual strawberry social.

The retirement village, which has about 90 residents in its nursing home, hosts the strawberry social each year about this time -- during the peak of the local strawberry season, said Jordyn Shifler, the retirement village's director of communications.

Sunday's social drew hundreds of residents, their family members and people from the community despite the threat of rain.

The first social was held about 15 years ago, and the event began again last year after a brief hiatus, Shifler said. She said the event is a chance for residents to spend time with their families and with the community.

Wolford's two daughters, Bonnie Fiery, 65, of Hagerstown, and Barbara Britner, 69, of Williamsport, were by her side Sunday as she ate strawberry shortcake and watched the festivities.

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"I enjoyed it very much," Wolford said.

Wolford moved into the nursing home about 10 months ago when her daughters were unable to help care for her because of their own bouts with cancer.

Fiery's husband, Thurman Fiery, 65, and her grandsons, Ethan Fiery, 10, and Vincent Fiery, 8, also attended. The boys said they spent time in what Shifler called "Kids' Corner," which featured a dunking booth, face painting, a reptile exhibit and other activities for children.

Vincent said he guessed the weight of a watermelon -- 8 pounds -- and the number of lollipops in a jar. After everyone had guessed, Vincent said a prize would be awarded to the winner.

"It's great. Food. Time with mother ... family is important to us," Fiery said of the day with her family.

Britner's husband, Bill Britner, their daughter, Susan Iseminger, 38, of Hagerstown, and Iseminger's son, Tommy Iseminger, 12, also attended.

The karaoke contest drew competitors of all ages. Mariyah Scott, 8, and her sister, Ashlynn Scott, 5, took time away from having their faces painted and jumping in the moon bounce to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

They attended with their mother, Amy Scott, of Hagerstown, and grandmother, Sharon Flowers, who is a medical technician at Williamsport Retirement Village.

Amanda Yost, 17, of Clear Spring, has been volunteering in the retirement village's assisted-living community since eighth grade, and the recent Washington County Technical High School graduate said she was working Sunday to serve food and help where she was needed. Shifler said Williamsport Retirement Village has about 30 residents in assisted living.

Amanda took a break from her duties Sunday to handle one of the ball pythons on display in the reptile tent. While her family took pictures, Amanda allowed the python to wrap itself around her neck, waist and legs.

"I want a pet snake, but she won't let me," Amanda said referring to her mother, Tina Yost, who also attended the strawberry social.

Shifler said she hopes to continue the annual event, and is planning to perhaps partner with local nonprofit agencies for future events to raise money for organizations like Hospice of Washington County.

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