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Boonesborough Days one of the best weekends for vendors

September 07, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Stephanie Stone of Funkstown looks over the many hand crafted wood products fron The DAMP Wood Store booth at Boonesborough Days Saturday afternoon at Shafer Park.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO, Md. — To most people, Boonesborough Days is an event that centers around crafts.

But to many vendors, it’s one of the most lucrative weekends of the year.

Eric and Jessie Jones, co-owners of Canal View Candles & Soaps in Williamsport, said they take in about 15 percent of their annual sales at the two-day event.

“We spend almost a month producing products for this one,” Eric Jones said. “Last year was one of our best shows.”

Jessie Jones said she and Eric, who are married, have been coming to Boonesborough Days for about 20 years as patrons, but this weekend marked only their second as vendors.

“We love it,” Jessie Jones said. “We always get to meet new people. We’re getting to meet the other vendors. There’s always new faces.”

Food vendors also count on the festival as a major fundraiser.

Marlene Powell, chairwoman of the Boonesborough Days committee at St. Catherine Orthodox Church in Hagerstown, said the church earns about $6,000 in gross sales by running a food stand at the event.

Although the congregation is made up of people from a variety of Eastern European backgrounds, the church sells mostly Greek cuisine, such as gyros, souvlaki and baklava.

“This is our major fundraiser of the year,” Powell said.

Much of the food that the church uses is donated by grocery stores, and the vegetables are contributed by Robert Harshman, who runs a farm near Greencastle, Pa.

Powell said the parishioners serve sauces made from old family recipes.

The food stand is a way to expose the community to ethnic cooking, she said.

“Everything is made from scratch,” she said. “We have customers who say ‘we wait all year for this.’ We really make a strong effort to make a great sandwich. We put our heart and soul into offering quality food for this festival.”

Powell said the congregation uses proceeds from Boonesborough Days to support its Sunday school and make repairs to the church.

Thousands of people packed the grounds Saturday at Shafer Memorial Park, mingling among the dozens of craft and food vendors who set up tents on the grass. As adults browsed wares that ranged from brooms to Christmas decorations, children played on slides and crawled on an old military gun.

Boonesborough Days Chairwoman Wanda Heuer said she has been a part of the festival since it started 42 years ago.

She said the early years featured displays by blacksmiths, potters and tinsmiths as a way to show people how things were in the old days. But the event has morphed into a crafts extravaganza, with about 150 vendors and an estimated 5,000 visitors each year, Heuer said.

Nicole Mullen of Hagerstown said she has attended Boonesborough Days for the past two decades.

On Saturday, she was at the festival with her two young children, Colton and Emberly.

“All the vendors are in one place, and there are activities for the kids,” she said. “We come every year for the carnival. We come for the events.”

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If you go ...

What: Boonesborough Days
When: Today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Shafer Memorial Park, Boonsboro

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