BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT - Half-hour mini-lectures by local authors, artists and historians are new this year at the eighth annual Mountaintop Community Spring Event, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Blue Ridge Mt. Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company fire hall, 13063 Monterey Lane, Blue Ridge Summit.

As always, the event is free, open to the public and benefits the Amanda Bowders Community Memorial Garden. Pavers for the patio area in the garden can still be purchased and engraved with the names of companie, familes and organizations, or as memorials.


The half-hour sessions will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.:

- 9 a.m. - Antietam Historical Association - Jim Shockey of the Potomac Street Irregulars will present a sampling of local crimes, and Sue Lee will give a complete PRS crime presentation.

- 10 a.m. - Bill Hammann will give a scherenschnitte presentation - an art which he has been performing since 1999

- 10:30 a.m. - James Rada will speak about  "Unstoppable Richard Bard." The Bard family, who owned a Fairfield mill, was captured by the Delaware Indians. Three family members were killed, and after Richard escaped he spent 2 1/2 years tracking his wife to free her.

- 11 a.m. - Steve Burdette will demonstrate sketching and other artistic skills.

- 11:30 a.m. -James Rada will talk about "The Boys of Summer." During the golden age of baseball, the Blue Ridge League gave baseball enthusiasts four teams within 45 minutes of the Blue Ridge Summit area

- noon - Bob O'Connor will talk about James Hanger, the Civil War's first amputee. Hanger didn't like his peg leg, so he developed his own. Hanger Inc. has 740 clinics today. The prosthesis tail for the dolphin in the 2011 movie, "The Dolphin Tales," was made by Hanger Inc.

- 1 p.m. - Soolah Hoops Show - a demonstration and lesson in hoola hooping, a fun exercise for the whole family.

Artists and Authors

Three local authors will be displaying and signing their recent books at this year’s event: B. Allison Hanson, Bob O’Connor and James Rada.

B. Allison Hanson, who lives near Hershey, has published more than 10 novels in the romance genre. Her contemporary romances include paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery suspense. There will be a preview of her latest work in the “Pack of Lies” series: "Protected," due to be released this month, and the latest in her Blue Ridge Romance series, "Never Let Go," due to be released in May. The author also has published works under the pen name Anson Barber.

Bob O'Connor, from Charles Town, W. Va., has written nine books, all on the subject of the Civil War. He was a 2006 Best Book Award Finalist, Historical Fiction (USA Book News) for "The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859," and his "The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln" was a 2008 First Runner-Up National Indie Excellence Awards for audio fiction. His latest work is "The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hangar, Civil War Soldier," a remarkable story of resiliency and ingenuity. He has been a much sought-after speaker, having had over 600 engagements in 18 different states.

James Rada from Gettysburg is a multi-award winning journalist who has penned a dozen books, including his recent work of historical fiction, "Who Killed Edgar Allen Poe." His articles appear regularly in a variety of regional and national magazines such as "History Channel Magazine," "Boy's Life" and "History Magazine." He has received numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, Associated Press, Maryland State Teachers Association and Community Newspapers Holdings for his newspaper writing. Rada also writes a weekly local history column for the Gettysburg Times newspaper titled “Looking Back."

Artist Steve Burdette, who works in several mediums, will be featuring his recent paintings of numerous local barns along with other local points of interest. Popular potter Valerie Parsons cannot attend this year’ event, but a number of her pieces of hand-thrown pottery will be on sale. Her pottery is sure to satisfy the aesthetics of any home as well as provide a functional purpose. Bill Hammann will have a large collection of his intricate scherenschnitte paper cutting artwork with many new pieces on display.

Collectibles road show and “Buy It Now”

The popular Collectibles Road Show will again take place, from 9-11 a.m., with appraisers Sam Tressler, Terry Barkdoll and Mel Halderman available to inspect attendee's treasures from the attic or closet and give you an estimated value. The cost is $5 per item. The “Buy It Now” table will offer unusual gifts and personal items to purchase.

For the kids (and young-at-heart)

Bring the kids to take part in the Easter scavenger hunt at the event from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Everybody gets a prize and is entered into a drawing for special prizes. Stop by to interact with Jack and Holly Olszewski and to look at the fossils, minerals, sharks teeth, jewelry and any new surprise items from their unique collection. Play the pinball machine at the Antietam Watershed Association display.

Vendors, exhibits and demonstrations

This year’s array of more than  20 vendors and exhibitors includes a special exhibit of an old plug-in telephone exchange system, much like was used at the Blue Ridge Summit exchange; special display and demonstration of the telegraph system by Jim Dysart; the Antietam Watershed Association's Watershed Pin Ball machine set up to play; and The Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield and the Mason-Dixon Line display and living history. Stop by to see Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (Bob Angle and Wayne Twigg) and hear their story about the surveying of the state line which separates Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. David Cline will have a display of Western Maryland Railway items and be answering questions about this important aspect of local history.

Also with demonstrations and displays will be Elaine Gladhill, with her old treadle sewing machine; and Karen Manderson, who will be demonstrating hand quilting and have numerous items on display. Be sure to visit and view items by Lucille Eckert (handmade art and wine gift bags); Shelley Bracken (Origami Owl); Rebecca Koons (handmade jewelry); and Lisa Cantwell (Black Horse Antiques).

Wine tasting

Reid’s Orchard and Winery will be set up with samples of wines from their local winery and vineyard, located in the nearby Buchanan Valley. They will also have information about the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail and their local venue for sales, sampling and entertainment - the Cider House in Gettysburg.

Community service

The Appalachian Trail Hiker’s “trail hiker’s box”, normally located at the Blue Ridge Summit post office, will be on display. The box contains many items – small size containers of shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and other personal hygiene supplies, duct tape, granola bars, first aid items, individual packets of instant coffee, tea and hot chocolate - to assist hikers on the trail. The hiker’s trail log book, with interesting comments that they leave, will be available for to read. Feel free to bring a small item to place in the box to prepare for this spring’s hikers. Other Appalachian Trail information will be on display as well.

Entertainment and food

Local singer and songwriter Rich Fehle will be providing entertainment and take requests. Fehle will also have for sale his first CD, "Everybody Has A Story," featuring original songs.

Great food - breakfast and lunch - will be provided by the Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co., great homemade baked goods will be offered by local churches and organizations.

If you have a ‘buy-it-now” item to donate or need more information, contact Lynn or Duke Martin at 717-642-5645 or

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