By: JANET SCOUTEN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the gray sky overhung with clouds, craft-seekers began moving purposefully toward the center of town. Stepping out from homes, parked cars and even school bus shuttles from far-flung parking lots, thousands of shoppers arrived with a love of crafts and money to spend.
Throughout the downtown area, the 450 artisans of the Lititz Rotary Craft Show carefully arranged their wares in anticipation of the crowds, but they weren’t the only ones getting ready. The enterprising children of Lititz also prepared, setting up lemonade stands, filling wagons with ice-cold water bottles and laying out sweet treats for hungry and thirsty shoppers.
In addition to the front-porch drink stands of young entrepreneurs, numerous local children’s organizations also sought to benefit from the expected 40,000 shoppers. Leaders of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, soccer teams, marching bands and school groups set aside this day as a golden opportunity to raise money for the causes they serve.
With a prime location at the intersection of Main and Broad, members of Boy Scout Troop 83, under the leadership of Scoutmaster Steve Eddy and Assistant Scoutmaster Mike Nedrow, sold half-liter water bottles for a dollar each to passing shoppers.
Calling it "a great fundraiser," Eddy estimated that his troop earned about $500 to $600 during last year’s craft show.
Noting the morning’s relatively cool temperatures and overcast sky, Eddy said, "We need it to get a little warmer."
His hope materialized later that afternoon, with the rain holding off, by and large, and temperatures reaching the mid-80s with humidity and bright sunshine.
In the heat of the day, one of the littlest Boy Scouts enthusiastically hawked water by yelling, "Water! Come get your water! You have to drink water to stay hydrated, or else you’ll get all wrinkled and look like a raisin."
The warmer temperatures proved particularly useful to the Warwick music program as volunteers raised funds with two Greco’s Italian Ice booths, one at the intersection of Main and Water streets and one at the entrance to Lititz Springs Park.
Karen Myers, vice president of Warwick Band Parents, explained that Greco’s had long been a "fantastic supporter of Warwick music." With owner Mike Greger providing the ices to the organization at cost, band parents were able to raise about $2,000 during last year’s craft show for their program.
Right around the corner from the marching band booth, the Girl Scouts of the Lititz Area Rolling Hills Service Unit were working to raise money for a trip to Europe.
As troop leader Rachel Cochis explained, "We’re not just going on a ‘la-la tour’ of Europe." Instead, the trip’s objective is to "inspire cultural awareness and personal growth," as the girls visit two centers for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), one located in London and the other in Adelboden, Switzerland.
Making about $700 during last year’s craft show, the Girl Scout booth sold sweet treats like doughnuts and whoopie pies, along with assorted sodas, to weary shoppers in need of a sugary pick-me-up.
At the other end of Main Street, the Linden Hall Parents’ Association sold water bottles, limited-edition Christmas ornaments and prime-location parking spots.
Parents’ Association President Sandy Thorpe said, "We love having our girls be part of the Lititz community. They’re out there selling water, singing and yelling chants, and they’re just having a great time."
Also yelling chants were the "Youth 13 Girls" of the Lititz Youth Soccer Club. Literally taking their show on the road, these soccer players pulled wagons laden with coolers up and down Main and Broad streets, selling ice-cold beverages to customers as they shopped. Team Mom Lori Rodgers estimated the girls made about $500 last year from their efforts, and she anticipated this year would be just as successful.
Raising funds for a cause much closer to home, local mother and son Monica and Vincent Forte set up a table with home-baked goods outside of McElroy’s Pharmacy on Main Street to raise donations for 7-year-old Tony Forte. As this young member of the Forte family awaits a life-saving transplant, 11-year-old Vincent has headed up the effort since his brother’s diagnosis of Total Colonic Hirschsprung’s Disease. To learn more about the transplant fund, visit www.aftft.com or call Monica Forte at 560-3610. More CRAFT KIDS, page A6