Woodland Ferry Festival is a success despite the heat

By Lynn R. Parks

Despite the late-summer heat, Saturday's Woodland Ferry Festival was a success, said coordinator Linda Allen.

"At some times during the day, it got pretty hot and humid," Allen said. "But we usually had a good breeze coming off the river. We had a good, steady crowd pretty much all day."

This was the 21st Woodland Ferry Festival, held in the small village of Woodland next to the Nanticoke River. It was started in 1993 to celebrate the Woodland Ferry's 200th year. It was held every year through 2010, then returned in 2014 after a short hiatus.

"Everybody is so happy that we've brought it back," Allen said. "It really is a beloved event. It's in a beautiful setting, so serene, and so many people have a good time."

Nearly 70 booths were set up in the village. Artisans sold their crafts and non-profit organizations handed out information. The Woodland Ferry Association, which sponsors the festival, held a silent auction and raffled off photographs of the ferry and the village.

In addition, several groups sold food. At a booth sponsored by the Woodland United Methodist Church, volunteers sold hamburgers and hot dogs. Janet Schroeder, vice president of the United Methodist Women at the church, said that they expected to sell about 500 hamburgers and 500 hot dogs. A nearby table was covered with baked goods being sold to benefit the Methodist Women.

Entertainment was provided throughout the day by area groups. Also throughout the day, the ferry, which is guided across the Nanticoke by an underwater cable, was open to pedestrians only.

Among the passengers on the ferry around noon was Evelyn Parillo, who lives in Patty Cannon Estates on the east bank of the river. She was returning home, carrying several brochures she had picked up at booths set up at the festival.

"We come to this every year," she said. "I love the atmosphere at the festival. And there are so many genres of booths set up: information, crafts, food."

Included in the fun genre, Lollipop the Clown, a.k.a. Laura Grimes, was there, painting faces and crafting animals out of balloons. For Aaron Pate, 5, of Seaford, she made an orange balloon hat, then painted a curving mustache on his upper lip.

Nearby, Chief Paul Anthony manned a table at which he had on display household items commonly used by drug abusers. "I want to educate parents on what drug-use looks like, so they know what to look out for," he said. Next to him, the Delaware State Police had information on driving under the influence of alcohol and the correct way to install car seats.

Theresa Dotson, from Ruthsberg, Md., and Beverly Wright, from Reliance, had a booth in which they demonstrated their spinning skills. With wool from Wright's sheep, they spun fine yarn, which they use to create shawls, rugs and sweaters.

This was the first time that the long-time friends had been at the festival. They enjoyed being there, Wright said, and had talked with a number of people about the art of spinning.

In addition, the two women had a great spot for a very hot day, right next to the river. "We have a really nice breeze," Wright said.

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