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Halfway Park Days offers unique items

May 29, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • From her booth at Halfway Park Days, Immaculate Tari peeks from between the gowns she makes. The Ghana native imports cloth and other materials from Africa and turns them into clothing and other art forms. She lives in Hedgesville, W.Va.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HALFWAY -- Greg Porter likes to whittle while he works.

A woodcarver, the Hagerstown man has been using a knife and skilled fingers for more than 30 years to turn blocks of wood into one-of-a-kind creations.

But Saturday morning, he put his tools aside to enjoy the talents of other artisans.

Porter was among the thousands of visitors who kicked off the Memorial Day weekend by attending Halfway Park Days.

Making his way through Martin "Marty" L. Snook Memorial Park, Porter stopped occasionally to take a closer look at the many handmade items.

His favorites?

"Anything made with wood," he said

Sponsored by the Lions Club of Halfway, organizers said the two-day event annually draws between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

This year, about 100 vendors are participating, selling everything from primitive furniture to jewelry. There also is music and food, including the club's famous barbecue chicken.

The festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.Admission and parking are free.

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Attending Halfway Park Days has become a tradition for many local residents, including Kimberly Morrelli of Williamsport.

"I know it's still May," Morrelli said. "But, to me, this event is the official start of summer. And I'm ready for it."

Morrelli said she is joined almost every year by her mother, her sister and an aunt, who all enjoy shopping for unique, one-of-a-kind items.

"That's why I'm here," she said. "I like to buy things you don't see at the chain stores. I'm not into mass-produced."

Rita Dailey of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she had found some plants for her garden and a necklace for her daughter.

"I enjoy these outdoor events," she said. "It's relaxing, you find wonderful items and you get to meet the people who made them."

The annual event is a benefit for the Lions Club of Halfway. Last year, about $10,000 was raised.

Profits generated from food and vendors are given back to the community, organizers said, including scholarships for local students and eyeglasses for people who need help in acquiring them.

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