Maugansville Pride Day all about community

September 05, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

MAUGANSVILLE -- Live bluegrass music danced across the lawn of Maugansville Ruritan Community Park. Parents held up hand-crafted items from vendor booths, fancying them in their own homes. Children squealed with laughter as they rolled along grassy hills in barrel cars, pulled along by a white-bearded man in denim overalls on a riding mower.

Maugansville Pride Day was the picture of good, old-fashioned, small-town fun.

"It's quite a spectacle really," said Carl Galligan, 69, of Hagerstown. "It's a great event for families and it's free and open to the public,"

The event has been hosted every year since the late 1970s by the Maugansville Ruritan Club. Club member Bob Walton has been chairman of the event for nearly 30 years.

"People come out because it's just a low-key community event," said Walton, 67, of Maugansville. "It started off as a picnic atmosphere where people would come down and spend the day, maybe buy some things. Entertainment is free all day.


And most people are from the area, so when you come, you look and say hi to just about anybody."

Walton said the Maugansville Ruritan Club, which has 56 members, puts forth a remarkable cooperative effort for Pride Day.

"About 70 to 80 percent of our membership actively participates in the event," he said. "That really says a lot."

Jennifer Swisher, 36, of Cearfoss said she goes to Pride Day each year.

"I just like the good food and crafts," she said. "The french fries are my favorite. They're are done in peanut oil and it reminds me of the beach. And I like the funnel cakes and the ice cream. All the bad food."

Swisher picked up a gift for her niece -- a horse print framed in barnwood -- from one of about 50 vendors. Her husband, Ian Swisher, 36, is a member of Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co., which cooks and sells the french fries at the event, in addition to providing fire safety information and children's games. Jennifer and Ian's son, Harley, 11, rounded out the family's involvement, helping out at the fishbowl game.

Thomas Radley of Hagerstown and his family never had been to the event before. He took his sons, Nicholas, 7, and Christopher, 5, to see what it was all about.

"We had ice cream then ran home to fetch mommy," Thomas Radley said.

Lara Radley said Nicholas and Christopher saw some games they wanted to play.

"This is a nice way to spend time with the family," she said.

Leslie Jones, 33, of Maugansville, is a Pride Days regular. She went to the event with her daughter and nieces.

"A lot of my family is from Maugansville and we like to come out and support the town," Jones said.

Walton said about 3,500 people attended Maugansville Pride Day. The event is a profitable Ruritan fundraiser, along with the group's community auction and Christmas tree sale. Walton said Pride Day alone raises about $4,500.

Mike Danley, a member of the Maugansville Ruritan and a Ruritan district governor, said the event is "a lot of work for one day, but a lot of fun, too."

"The rewards are many because the money we earn from everything we do goes right back into the community," he said.

Funds raised are used to maintain the park and the Ruritan building and for various community projects, including loaning medical equipment such as hospital beds, walkers and wheelchairs to people in the community; providing scholarships to graduating high school seniors; sponsoring sports teams; and giving financial assistance to children with medical needs.

"We are busy all year round," Danley said.

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