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Smithsburg Pride Days 'back on track'

July 18, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg awakened early and kept hopping well into the night Saturday.

A parade, a dance and fireworks were among the festivities designed to celebrate the town's hometown pride.

Smithsburg Pride Days kicked off Saturday morning with a 5K and Fun Run beginning at the town's carnival grounds and an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the fire hall.

By midmorning, the parade assembled, making its way through town with bands, majorettes, miniature horses and the Smithsburg Little Sluggers.

It was the 16th year of the Pride Days celebration, but this year, the event found a new chairperson in Tonya Meadows. Meadows, 38, said she grew up in the small community of Laytonsville, Md., in Montgomery County.

"I grew up with small-town things going on. We used to have carnivals and parades. I love it. It's just near and dear to my heart," Meadows said. "Plus, I have young kids, so I just wanted something for the kids."

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Meadows worked with the town and the organizing committee to build upon the annual event, particularly the parade.

"I went to the parade last year and I was just like, 'Wow. This could be so much more,'" she said. "I was just thinking of all the people who could be involved."

Meadows said the parade was significantly larger this year than last. She said there were more than 30 groups participating this year, some of which were comprised of 50 to 60 children. Following the parade, people poured into Veterans Park, where food and craft vendors lined the lawn and Civil War re-enactors provided demonstrations.

"The community response has been great," Meadows said. "After the parade, there was nowhere to park, and people just kept turning into the park. I was so happy."

The Smithsburg Library got in on the celebration with activities including a moon bounce, art show, magician performance and story time.

Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said she was pleased to see the parade grow following years of declining participation. She said she hopes to see the growth expand into more vendor participation. Meadows said about 40 vendors took part.

"We did have a lot of vendors. I'm not complaining," Myers said. "And everyone is having a good time. I'm very pleased with it all. I think we are getting back on track again."

A car show, a rabies clinic and live music performances graced the carnival grounds throughout the afternoon. Churches in town hosted bake sales, book sales and children's craft activities.

Mary Maugans, 39, of Smithsburg, shopped in the park with her family.

"I love the country vendors," Maugans said. "I can find bargains."

She picked up woven table mats for $6.95 that she said sell for $21 in stores. Her daughter, Kiersten Seal, 7, made a sand-art butterfly and caught candy thrown out by participants in the parade.

Meadows said her friends and family get together annually at Pride Days, with some coming back home to Smithsburg from Hancock for the event. But not everyone who attends is a hometowner.

Maria Ammon, 42, of Pittsburgh, and her friends Mike and Leann Moss of Annandale, Va., along with their two young children, met at the park. The friends had planned an overnight get-together in Hagerstown because it was a fairly central location. They found out about Smithsburg Pride Days while doing some research online.

Ammon said the Moss' daughter, Allie, 3, loved the library activities, especially the moon bounce.

Festivities continued into the night with a street dance in the park, food vendors and fireworks at dusk.

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