Union Bridge fund-raiser nets $4,000 for town hall

September 16, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

UNION BRIDGE -- Like a fierce cat circling its prey, the big, red "mini-monster" truck made several passes at four helpless junk cars, clumped tightly together on the fire hall parking lot.

The driver, 22-year-old Freddie Hines, revved the truck's engine menacingly as the crowd of about 300 people jeered, "Do it!"

"I want to see the cars get smashed," said Jeffrey Miller, 9, pushing his way to the front lines.

The car-crushing capped the Gala '90s Day, festivities planned to raise money to renovate the 90-year-old Pump House into a new town hall.

With a few steely groans, Junk Yard Sam, Sherry and other no-name clunkers sagged beneath the truck's oversized tires.

Again and again, Mr. Hines drove over the cars until he balanced the truck victoriously on top of the mangled vehicles and unceremoniously ended the show.

The Gala offered plenty of entertainment. About 1,000 people picnicked in Lehigh Park, toured homes, churches and businesses and shopped, raising about $4,000 for the town hall project.

About $1,000 came from the "buy a brick" campaign. Prices ranged from $50 for a gold brick to a $1 junior brick option for children.

"This is the most people I have seen gathered together at one time in one spot in Union Bridge," said Rusty Watson, long-time resident in this town of 917 people.

"I know we had more than 1,000 people," said John Scott, who moved here about three years ago. "There were town people and a lot of faces I didn't know."

With vanilla ice cream surrounding his smile, Kevin Eder, 5, licked his cone, trudged along with his dad and sister and carefully juggled his own camera.

A "bumpy ride" on a mule-drawn wagon made the day for him, he said.

People who wanted a bigger thrill waited hours for a 15-minute helicopter flight. The helicopter landed just after the noon festivities began and quickly booked riders through the next six hours.

"I waited two hours, but with a beautiful day like this, it was worth it," said John W. Penn, who filmed views of his Smith Road home from his seat in the air.

Several people lined up for one-hour tours of Lehigh Portland Cement Co.'s plant. Desiree Lewter, 8, wanted to see the place where her granddad and uncle work.

By the end of the sunny afternoon, most food vendors had posted "sold-out" signs.

"All our members donated food," said John Gartrell of the town Heritage Committee. "Whatever we sold was pure profit for the project."

Town officials called the event a complete success.

"We've already scheduled a meeting to start planning next year's," said Kathleen D. Kreimer.

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