Strawberry-filled Sykesville

Taste: First fruit of summer is main ingredient -- and topping and side dish -- at old-fashioned festival, one of several scheduled in Carroll this month.

June 13, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The season's first home-grown fruit was celebrated yesterday in Sykesville, at the town's 16th annual Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Ice Cream Festival.

The event, sponsored by the Sykesville Historic District Commission, drew some 300 people to the Gate House Museum of History for sundaes, shortcake and succulent strawberries served with whipped cream.

Young girls wearing long skirts and friendly smiles waited on visitors under a yellow and white canopy, dishing up berries by the bowl or quart.

"It's a good way to get together with other people in the community and rub elbows. Every time we come, we meet new people," said Gordon Holder of Sykesville, who was at the festival with his wife, Pam, and three generations of the Holder family: his mother, Doris Holder, sister Gale Ratley and 2-year-old daughter Amanda.

"This has always been a family event," said Sykesville Mayor Jonathan S. Herman, whose wife, Becky, baked the shortcake served at the festival this year.

"It gives people a chance to meet their neighbors and instills in them a sense of community pride in the town," Herman added. "And for those who aren't familiar with Sykesville, it gives them a chance to come and enjoy the town in a relaxed atmosphere."

Visitors also had a chance to learn about the town's history. The museum, usually closed Saturdays, was open during the three-hour festival.

"I had been meaning to visit the museum for quite some time, but never got the chance. This seemed like the perfect opportunity," said Barbara Mooney, who moved to Finksburg from Baltimore in December. "I love to look at all the old things."

Several visitors said they admired the museum's collection of items from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which came to town in 1831.

Artifacts from the old Sykesville train station include an iron step stool, a telegraph key and an antique telephone.

As the young and young at heart enjoyed the sights, they were entertained by Terry Gourley, a local musician who sang English folk songs and soft melodies such as Lucinda Williams' "Passionate Kisses."

Gourley's sister, Mary Vial, and her family -- husband Gilbert J. Vial, 50, daughter Nicole Vial, 2, and son Gilbert D. Vial, 5 -- drove from Columbia to watch Gourley perform.

Event organizers said they were happy with the turnout and raised about $900 for historic preservation in the town.

The Sykesville festival was one of two celebrations held yesterday in Carroll in honor of the strawberry.

St. John's Lutheran Church in Westminster held its annual salute to the heart-shaped fruit from 4 p.m. to dusk.

Carroll's love affair with the strawberry will continue Saturdayas Linwood Brethren Church sponsors an event with ice cream and strawberries, strawberry milkshakes, pies and shortcake, as well as crafts, children's games and live music.

It will run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The season will wind down June 26 with Bethel United Methodist Church's 109th annual strawberry festival.

Berries and ice cream, baked goods, a white elephant sale, children's activities and music by the Gospel Travelers from Frederick will highlight the event, which is scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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