NEW PHILADELPHIA Visitors who flocked to First Town Days midway through its opening Thursday afternoon were happy to be among the people again, after more than a year of cancellations caused by the pandemic.
âIt feels good to finally come out to see faces instead of masks,â said Dottie Fletcher of Mineral City. “And everyone seems friendly, very friendly.”
She attended with her daughter Samantha Fletcher and grandchildren Michael, 5, and Faith, 18 months.
âThe kids wanted to do something; I wanted to get them out,â said the grandmother, who plans to walk to the Little Twist on Mineral Festival on July 10 in Mineral City.
Ronald Crabtree, Commander of American Legion Post 139, was also happy to be with the crowd again.
âIt’s like opening a door, bringing in fresh air,â he said. “It’s just wonderful to go back to a normal routine – no masks, that’s a great thing.”
Crabtree was one of three legionaries who sat at the post midway table. Members are trying to raise more than $ 300,000 to build a new two-acre station at 2440 E. High Ave. to replace a converted house formerly used by the association.
Their efforts include selling $ 5 tickets for a chance to win $ 400 worth of groceries at Buehler’s Fresh Foods. A game invites passers-by to try to land a quarter in a shot glass placed at the bottom of a jug of water.
Rich Maioriello took a break from his work in the Strasbourg kitchens to attend First Town Days with Amber Contini and his 8-year-old daughter Gabby Rasul.
âI’m just happy to be out of the house,â said Maioriello, of Magnolia.
Contini, also from Magnolia, said it was nice to see other people.
“I feel like there wasn’t a lot of community, like a lot of feelings, last year, almost like you were scared to be with other people,” she said. declared.
Gabby spoke enthusiastically of her admiration for the fried cheese between bites of the breaded snack.
âIt makes me feel goodâ¦ less isolation,â said Ashley Watkins of Dennison. “Just enjoying the food, the fun, the friends and the family.”
His father Ken Haag of New Philadelphia agreed it was nice to attend First Town Days.
âIt was good to go out and do something fun,â said Watkins’ fiance John Blackburn of Dennison. He worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in construction and renovation.
Sabrina Jamieson from Dover attended the festival to check out vendors after working at the Tuscora Park concession stand. She bought friendship bracelets and a shoulder bag decorated with images of koalas.
The sophomore from Tuscarawas Valley High School visited halfway with her mother Dee Jamieson. Despite the attraction of the food vendors, they planned to cook dinner at home, but allowed the possibility that they could return to the festival which continues until Sunday.
Contact Nancy at 330-364-8402 or [email protected]
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