Monday, June 9, 2008

Sharpsburg Community Day Event

Celebrating Small Town History
Saturdayʼs celebration just may have put Sharpsburg back on the map.
As hundreds of people gathered "up town" to celebrate nearly 200 years of the town's rich history, main street came alive with a festival like fan-fare.
From Oak to Camp streets, plenty of vendors tempted the taste buds with festival foods such as barbecued ribs, tenderloin, hotdogs, cheeseburgers, fried fish, baked goods and snow cones.
Of course, it wouldnʼt be Sharpsburg without tubs of ice cold Ale-8ʼs to quench your thirst being offered by each food vendor.
Several booths offered a variety of wares such as hand-sewn quilts and throws, Longaberger purses and baskets, handmade jewelry, scented candles, Home Interior items and yard sale goods.
Renee, Patricia and Donna at Roberts Grocery kept a steady pace, serving home-cooked food to festival goers who came from out-of-town looking for that nostalgic sense of yesterday and knew the familiar old store would not disappoint them.
Warren Roberts, owner of Roberts Grocery, was overjoyed to see so many of the folks he had grown up with in the area show up for the festivities.
"I think this is such a wonderful idea," Roberts said. "I love seeing all the people I grew up with that I havenʼt seen in years. Sharpsburg has always been filled with wonderful people, and to see so many familiar faces come home to support our first community event is just amazing."
Mayor Dorothy Clemons has been the first to orchestrate such an event to take place in the small town and was happy with how well the first community day turned out.
"We have really been blessed with so many who have supported this idea," Clemons said. "I am so happy to see everyone enjoying themselves and having such a wonderful time. I want to thank all the local churches, businesses and organizations who set up vending booths to help make this day such a huge success."
Local historians Rob Lane and George Stone gathered old photographs and documented material from their own private collections for everyone to enjoy along with the day's events.
Despite the sweltering heat, the crowd enjoyed activities scheduled throughout the day such as face painting and corn hole tournaments. Gospel singers, cloggers, line dancers and skateboarders entertained at different intervals, and Billy Jones took up his blue Fender to play some rhythm and blues. Antique tractors and a couple of vintage cars were also on display.
With quite a bit of buzz generating around the food and festivities that took place in the middle of town, the highlight of the event was the display of old photographs and documented pieces of the cityʼs history.
Inside the old firehouse a crowd of local residents mixed and mingled with old friends and neighbors from out of town and even out of state to share memories from days gone by.

Greg Martin, a Sharpsburg native who has lived in Florida for the past 30 years, was thrilled when he heard his home town had planned such an event.
“I was so excited when I heard this little town I grew up in was having something like this," Martin said. "Just to get to see some of my old friends is exciting, and the tables of history set up were great to see. I hope Mayor Clemons and the city are making plans to do this again next year."
Billy Purvis was among the many lined up to take a look at the high school year books from 1961 through 1963.
“Community Day turned out to be a wonderful experience,” Purvis said. “For this being the very first of it’s kind, it was very well organized and I hope we get to enjoy more events like it and more often.”
Carolyn Rogers, Frank Hart, Charles Hart, David Petitt, Millard Petitt, Beulah Hart, Patricia Brooks, Janet Wilson, Mary Ann Richmond and Carol Hamilton were just a few of the hundreds who spent time reminiscing over the wonderful display of Sharpsburgʼs history.
Community Day for the local residents as well as natives from far and wide meant enjoying a day not only of sharing memories, food and fellowship but also a day of making history in a town each of them had called home for so many years.
Plans are already in the works for the second annual Community Day in Sharpsburg according to Rob Lane.
"Today’s turn out was so much more than we ever expected," Lane said. "The support from the community has been overwhelming, and we are very happy with how successful this celebration has been. As soon as we get cleaned up from this event, we are going to get started planning for next year’s Community Day in Sharpsburg.”

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