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Miss Kitty to spend birthday making food for re-enactors

Funkstown teen doing her part to give something back

July 14, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Kitty Hofffman is making pies for Union and Confederate re-enactors who are expected to stop by her house at the corner of Antietam and Maple streets Saturday morning before they participate in a street battle in Funkstown.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN -- Thursday is Kitty Hoffman's 18th birthday, but she'll hardly have time to think about it.

She'll spend most of the day making about 20 pie crusts for a variety of fruit pies and meat pies, and approximately 100 pie pocket crusts for handheld jelly pockets.

All the baking is for Union and Confederate re-enactors who are expected to stop by her house at the corner of Antietam and Maple streets Saturday morning before they participate in a street battle in Funkstown. Last year, she prepared food for about 120 re-enactors; this year, she is preparing to feed close to 200.

Kitty expects to get up around 5 a.m. Friday and bake the pies, probably finishing at 10 or 11 p.m.

"I think they give so much to the community. It's nice to give something back," said Kitty, who will celebrate her birthday on Sunday.

The battle is part of the Battle of Funkstown re-enactment weekend, which includes Day in the Park at Funkstown Community Park on Saturday.

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Before the street battle, the Confederate and Union re-enactors forage for food by stopping by homes that set out red ribbons, signaling residents' participation. They ask for nonperishable foods such as fruit, breads and canned goods. Last year, the re-enactors ate a little of it and gave most of it to the food bank at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, which they are planning to do again this year, event organizer and Funkstown Councilman John Phillips III said.

The sides usually flip a coin to decide who gets the north end of town and who gets the south end, Phillips said. But they all end up at Miss Kitty's house in the end, he said.

"Even if we're on the north side of town, we'll be making a trip up to see Miss Kitty for sure," said Mark Benner, 48, of Hagerstown. Benner is a 1st corporal with the 7th Tennessee Company A infantry re-enactors.

Susie Hoffman, Kitty's mom, said at times the family has both the North and the South sitting on the porch swing eating biscuits.

"I know we cross from time to time. Every now and then, there's an issue with us having to chase those Bluebellies off. We've been known to chase them off from Miss Kitty's," said Benner, getting into character.

"Miss Kitty was in and out of the house there bringing different dishes. It was quite amazing," said Denny Rohrbaugh, 54, of Chambersburg, Pa.

Rohrbaugh said he was particularly fond of the beef stew.

Kitty Hoffman was a vegan last year and is a vegetarian this year, but she still prepares meat dishes for the re-enactors.

"I don't taste too much of what I make. I go off everyone else's feedback," Kitty said.

The Hoffman family, which also includes father, Dwight, and brother, Colt, began the tradition of preparing breakfast for the foraging re-enactors and a lunch for after the street battle, Kitty and Susie Hoffman said.

"Instead of providing little things, we decided they needed more nourishment," Kitty said.

Kitty was around 8 years old when the family began baking for the re-enactors. A few years ago, she took over most of the baking.

"Not that they don't want to help, but I'm pretty territorial," Kitty said. "I don't like help in the kitchen."

Kitty graduated from South Hagerstown High this year and will begin classes in August at Gettysburg (Pa.) College, where she wants to major in history and minor in anthropology, specifically archeology. She's mostly interested in ancient history such as the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians.

"I've always loved history, which is why this is such a big deal to me," she said.

But the re-enactors needn't worry about losing their annual feast.

"As long as we live here in Funkstown, then we're going to participate," Kitty Hoffman said.

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