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Mountaintop Heritage Days at Fort Ritchie 'epitome of hometown America'

June 29, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Trinity Hoover, who is visiting from Meyersdale, Pa., snags pieces of candy tossed from passing antique cars during Saturday morning's parade in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. The parade kicked off the Mountaintop Heritage Days festival at nearby Fort Ritchie.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

CASCADE, Md. — Amid a festival atmosphere on Lake Royer, Patrick X. Burns and Albert Breeden studied decidedly un-festive photos.

As part of a living-history demonstration, Breeden, a Vietnam veteran, brought along a photo album depicting images of events in South Vietnam in 1965. Breeden said the album would have been classified information at one time.

Burns, 57, of Waynesboro, Pa., took a particular interest in the photos, in part, because his father, now 88, who made a career in the military, once served in the same location. Burns said Breeden was teaching “a total history lesson.”

“This is something that every American should know. We are talking about sacrifice — big time,” Burns said. “If the South Vietnamese and the American soldiers hadn’t done what they did, we wouldn’t be here doing this.”

What they were doing was celebrating Mountaintop Heritage Days at Fort Ritchie, an event honoring the history of Cascade and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. Central to the history of that area is Fort Ritchie, the military installation in Cascade that closed its doors in 1998.

One Mountain Foundation, an organization committed to promotion of the mountaintop area, sponsored the celebration for the eighth year, said Bill Carter, the group’s treasurer.

“Local people are proud of that history. They want people to come out and remember,” he said.

In addition to Civil War, World War II and Vietnam living-history demonstrations, the event offered food and craft vendors, games, music, a car show, a steam-engine show, boat rides on the lake and fireworks.

Nina Rouzer, chairwoman of One Mountain Foundation, said along with remembering the area’s history, Heritage Days “brings people out for a good time.”

Kamren Rinker, 5, and her brother, Wyatt, 9, created edible sand art by pouring colorful sugars into long plastic tubes. Kamren she was creating a pattern by colors, while Wyatt’s strategy was based upon his favorite flavors.

Their parents, Kurt and Wendy Rinker, 38 and 35, of Waynesboro, Pa., said they like trying new foods at the festival. Wendy had falafel, while Kurt tried a Korean burrito.

“It’s a nice big open space, not too crowded, good food,” Wendy Rinker said. “We are coming back tonight for the fireworks.”

Roger Kuckenbrod, 67, of Quincy, Pa., and his wife, Lynda Kuckenbrod, 60, said they discovered the event after moving to the area and have looked forward to attending again since. Lynda purchased a fairy bed made of thin floral wire and a crocheted hammock and said she planned to put it in one of her two fairy gardens.

“I love this. I’ve had it on the calendar for months,” Lynda Kuckenbrod said. “The Civil War guys, the World War II guys, tractors, the steam engines, making ice cream over there. It’s a nice fair. It is the epitome of hometown America.”

The celebration also included a one-day Fort Ritchie history exhibit at the Fort Ritchie chapel and a Saturday morning parade in Blue Ridge Summit.

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