Winter Feast to serve food and tales in park

January 13, 2003

Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway Inc. will hold its third Winter Feast on Feb. 1 at Patapsco Valley State Park, featuring food cooked over an open fire and stories.

"We've been working to tell the stories of the Patapsco Valley and to connect people to its history," said Sally Voris, who describes herself as "chief cook and bottle-washer and director of outreach" for the Friends.

The first feast was held at Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, Voris said. Lisa Vicari of Catonsville told a story about walking with her grandfather "into Patapsco Valley State Park with a bushel of oysters and leftover Christmas food, and they made a fire. ... And then they had to wait for the full moon to rise to have enough light to walk out of the valley in the dark."

"It's a wonderful story," Voris said. "It talks about fire, feast, community, being close to nature."

Voris recommended holding the next Winter Feast in the park and adding it to the Friends' calendar as an annual storytelling event.

Boy Scout Troop 432 will serve a meal members cooked over the coals of the fire at 4:30 p.m. "Last year, they made a chili with cinnamon in it, and a hotter chili," Voris said.

After the meal, three or four older members of the community will recall their winters in the valley. One storyteller is Ellicott City resident Richard Gick, a decoy carver who grew up on Ilchester Road, Voris said.

Franklin and Lois Baker will talk about delivering milk in the snow. They had a dairy farm in Ellicott City and ran a milk route from 1932 to 1952.

A fourth storyteller had not been confirmed.

Members of the audience will share short oral histories, and a "talking stick" will be passed. Anyone who holds the stick may tell a story for up to three minutes, Voris said.

The feast will end with community singing "because it's a wonderful way to close," Voris said. "The purpose of this is to connect old-timers and newcomers, young and old, different cultures, different backgrounds. And to do it through stories, specifically stories of where we live.

"The elders are the call. The response can be from anyone," she said.

The Winter Feast will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Hollofield Shelter #300 at Patapsco Valley State Park, which is a co-sponsor of the event. The cost is $5, or $10 per family. Participants should take a side dish or dessert. Reservations are required.

Information: 410-480-0824.

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