Sunday, August 26, 2001

Families enjoy pleasures of small towns at festival




By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — Every year this city's Heritage Festival reminds residents of the pleasures of small towns and home-grown fun.

        The 36th annual celebration began Saturday morning with a parade. Afterward, families from Mason and surrounding communities strolled the downtown festival area in search of the perfect funnel cake, the most colorful hair paint job or the best booth display.

        Pets had their annual moment of glory at the midday pet show and Stupid Pet Tricks contest.

[photo] Jenn Swing, 16, of Milford draws a butterfly on Main Street in Mason at the 36th annual Heritage Festival.
(Tony Jones photo)
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        The award for best tricks went to Rosa, a Chesapeake Bay retriever who impressed the judges with her ability to fetch newspapers and snag airborne Frisbees.

        But nowhere was the easy-going family spirit of the Heritage Festival more apparent than in the Kidz Zone, where youngsters and their parents chose from 20 free activities.

        In one activity area, 6-year-old Michael Knight whistled as he fitted pieces of PVC pipe together to make a structure. Despite help from his sister Laura, 14, a design concept eluded him.

        “I have no idea what I'm building,” he said.

        Down the street, Melanie Monahan celebrated her 9th birthday by keeping nine Hula-Hoops twisting at once, to cheers from her family.

        “This is such a relaxing atmosphere,” said volunteer Cheryl Casciotti, whose husband, Bob, was helping young golfers chip balls into a basket.

        “The kids are having fun, and they don't have to buy anything.”

        Festival chairwoman Vickie Larcomb said it was important to keep all the activities free.

        “We've been wanting to do the Kidz Zone for several years, but didn't have enough sponsors to manage it financially until now,” she said.

        “It's nice to see that the community still does come together even though it is so large,” volunteer Terri Stigers said.

        At the Heritage Festival, it's like old times.

        “I like to be able to still have that hometown feeling and know that my kids, wherever they are in the festival area, are safe,” Ms. Stigers said.

       



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