The streets of Newville awoke early Saturday for Day 2 of the 24th annual Fountain Festival, to continue right where they left off the night before.
Friendship Hose Co. started the morning off right at 7 a.m. with eggs, coffee, sausage and pancakes for anyone looking for some breakfast to lend energy for the day. It wasn't long, though, before attendees skipped right to dessert.
Gary Mentzer's voice rattled off numbers, enticing those in passing to offer up a bid for some extravagant cakes from the Cake Baking Contest. The contest raised $130 for the PAW Packs Program, made up of a group of local churches who work to make sure all Big Spring School District children get a meal over weekends and summer months. Two children, along with seven adults, submitted cakes for judging, many included musical emblems like guitars, pianos and musical notes and clefs.
In the children’s division, Jordyn Clelan won an award for Best Presentation, and Josie Blasco took home two awards for Most Original to the Theme and Best Tasting. Kids received the “Super Simple Baking for Kids” book as a prize.
In the adult division, Janet Cook was a double winner, taking home Best Presentation and Original to the Theme, while Kim Bailey took the title of Best Tasting.
After attendees’ sweet teeth were indulged, three competitors showed off their singing and dancing skills in the Youth Talent Contest at 10 a.m. in front of an audience at the fountain.
Zoe Keebaugh stepped on stage to sing “Maybe” from “Annie,” and was awarded with second place. She was beat out by first place recipient Koya Gutshall who performed many acrobatic dance moves to the song “What a Girl Is” by Dove Cameron. Koya is known for dancing all over the place, whether it be in her living room, or in the aisles of Saylor’s Market.
“It was kind of scary, but I had fun,” she said after her performance.
Family, including her grandmother, mother and sisters described Koya as being in her own world when up on stage and dancing.
The third, and youngest, competitor was 6-year-old Leira Mellott who belted out the chorus to the song “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman.” Leira said she has been singing since she was a baby, and gained some of her talent from her parents.
“I was very proud of her getting up there,” said her mother, Alison. “It's scary getting up there in front of all those people.”
Koya and Zoe each received large trophies, along with tickets to any movie at the Cumberland Drive-In, while Leira received a backpack filled with camping gear, donated by Councilwoman Kristy Keebaugh.
Councilwoman Joey Diehl, who helped organize the competition, described the trio as a “mighty” bunch for getting up on stage in front of the crowd.
The youth stole the show in the early morning, but shiny chrome and paint were the highlight of the afternoon during the annual Car Show. This year's showcase lined most of West Big Spring Avenue with vehicles stretching all the way to the corner of Walnut Street. One-hundred and six cars were registered this year, up from last year’s 102. There were also three motorcycles registered.
The 2018 Best of Show winner Jerry Walker had his prized 1957 Chevy Bel Air up front and noted he has been a car lover his entire life.
“I like the food and the cars, of course,” he said. “Most car people are very nice people, and we all have the same interests.”
The top 25 cars, as decided by a group of Friendship Hose Co. EMS personnel, were presented with trophies in front of the fountain. Darlene Heitchew was noted as being the farthest Top 25 winner to have traveled to the show, having come all the way from Somerset, 185 miles away.
John Santulli’s 1960 Chevy Impala was the “Mayor’s Choice” award winner. Levi Sloop’s 1949 Chevy Truck was the “Police Chief's Choice” award winner. Elwood Rotz’s 1930 Ford Model A was the “Fountain Festival Chairwoman's Choice” award winner. Mark McDorfurt’s 2013 Dodge Challenger was the “Fire Chief's Choice” award winner. Alan McDonald with his 1971 Plymouth GTX was the “Council President's Choice” award winner. Kriss Barrick’s 1940 Ford Sedan was named Best in Show.
The annual Duck Derby took place at the Laughlin Mill with Borough Manager Fred Potzer, longtime duck distributor, throwing about 220 rubber duckies into the water with many youngsters eagerly watching along the banks.
Potzer said people come back to reminisce at the Fountain Festival, and described the annual festival, with events like the Duck Derby, as the kick-off to their summer, with other events, like National Night Out, right around the corner.
Three-year-old Jacob Jumper was one of those youngsters who got “up in the mud” and close to the action. It was his first time attending, and he had the chance to collect a lot of the rubber duckies as they were thrown back onto dry land from the water. Afterward, he planned to relax while munching on some French fries. Katy Weaver won first place and a prize of $75. Second place of $50 went to Henny McCullock, while third place of $25 went to Mark Lehman.
Among all of the food, vendors and nonprofits, there was lots of fun to be had surrounding the iconic Newville fountain at the intersection of West Spring Avenue, Parsonage Street and West Street.
“I was very pleased with attendance. I think we had a good cross section of food vendors, craft vendors, and we were able to showcase a lot of nonprofit organizations,”said Carolyn Kough, lead organizer of the Fountain Festival.
Christian Life Community Church put together a dunk tank to benefit the Bulldog Foundation, which was presented by Strouse Entertainment.
The Cumberland County 4-H Goat Club also had many animals out to meet the people, including a Chinese Goose named Mr. Dabble who is a regular at the Fountain Festival. There were also goats and bunnies.
Mike Sgrignoli, known as “Mr. Mike” a children’s dinosaur book author, was entertaining attendees with his game called “Dinorific Scientific Name Game” that had participants guessing whether names read out by Mr. Mike were real names of dinosaurs or made up. Katie Baker, known as “Kit Kat Sparkles,” also had a booth set up so she could create beautiful art on children’s faces.
Boy Scout Troop 174 sold their famous mild and hot sausages among the nonprofit booths. Another familiar option among the crowd is the walking tacos of the Newville Little League. The Big Spring Senior Center sold its many flavors of pie, like apple, rhubarb, cherry and blueberry.
Big Spring Masonic Lodge #361 sold its famous country ham sandwiches, and Motter's on a Mission sold handmade whoopie pies for their mission trip to Grenada. The Big Spring Drama Club sold lemonade for their 2020 performance of “Guys and Dolls.”
For the 2019 Porch Contest Awards, Robert and Stephanie Mellinger on East Main Street tied for first place with Carol Graham on West Big Spring Avenue. The McNally family on Parsonage Street came in third place.
“I thank the committee. I thank all the volunteers that have put in time, and I think it’s important to thank the people who came,” Kough said. “A lot of people commented on the friendliness and the cleanliness of the town. I didn’t receive any criticism, and most of them expressed that they would come back next year.”
Colin and Yolanda Kane have attended many Fountain Festivals and were out sampling some of the sausages, pretzels, Thai iced tea and of course, some funnel cake. They both noted the pride and love of the town that is showcased during this time.
“It’s so nice to see everyone from the community out,” Colin said. “If you are out here on a regular day, it’s sometimes dead, and you never see anyone.”
“I think it’s great. We need to have things like this, so that it brings the community together,” Yolanda said.
Judy Hockensmith was out with her husband, Wayne, enjoying the Fountain Festival and called this year’s version “a success.” Her festival attendance record only has one absence during the 24 years of its existence.
“It’s just great for Newville. It’s something you look forward to every year,” Hockensmith said. “This is the place you come to see someone you haven’t seen in a year.”
She noted her favorite parts of the festival include admiring the porches, being amazed by the bands, witnessing the excitement from the kids and seeing the benefit to the local community and economy.
Royetta Baughman took the trip from Landisburg to attend this year’s Fountain Festival, and came to assist in judging the cakes for the PAW Packs.
“It’s a good time for the local community to get together,” she said. “There are lots of activities for all ages, and I’m glad they continue to do it.”