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Farmers Market turns into treat for kids

October 31, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- There was no trick to getting a treat Saturday morning at the City Farmers Market.

You just had to be a kid.

About 200 trick-or-treaters arrived at the historic Hagerstown market to celebrate Halloween in a unique setting.

Instead of going door to door, youngsters went vendor to vendor.

And if they didn't have a bag to collect their sweets, they could make their own during a special craft project.

"We wanted to take advantage of Halloween being on a Saturday this year," said Gaela Shoop, manager of the City Farmers Market. "The market is open on Saturdays and we wanted to get into the spirit of the holiday."

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Shoop said trick-or-treating at the downtown market has been a tradition for about 20 years.

"We have different celebrations for different occasions," she said. "But this is a pretty consistent one."

While the day was fun for children, Shoop said the vendors also loved it.

"Many of the vendors dressed in costume today," she said. "They're having a great time handing out candy and talking with families. It's a very festive atmosphere."

Shoop, who also is a recreation assistant at the Jonathan Hager House and Museum, said she was dressed as a dead Hager resident.

Carrying a basket of candy and wearing a black hooded cape and white face paint, Shoop occasionally stopped to tell a spooky story to the trick-or-treaters, whose costumes ranged from ghosts and goblins to princesses and superheroes.

Erin Gentzel, who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Cora, to the festivities, said she appreciated the market offering trick-or-treat for children.

"It's inside and it's safe," she said. "You don't have to worry about cars and darkness. It's a great place for families."

Gentzel, who lives in Hagerstown, said she and her daughter had been reading stories about Halloween for several weeks.

"She was really excited about coming here today," she said.

Dressed as Tinker Bell, Cora took time to design her trick-or-treat bag at a craft table before heading off for candy.

"This is my first time visiting the market," Gentzel said. "It's beautiful. I'm surprised at the variety. I'll definitely be coming back."

Shoop said Halloween kicks off one of the busiest times of the year for vendors.

"Right now, there are great savings on end-of-the-year produce," she said. "But soon, we'll be moving into the gift-giving months. It seems to all start today."

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