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Blankets to keep history, festival alive



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May 26, 2010 - When the nights turn chilly, wouldn't it be nice to have a piece of local history to snuggle under for warmth?

The Leonard Summer Festival Committee is offering people the opportunity to do just that by selling a special blanket that hasn't been available to the public for 18 years.

Log on to www.strawberryfest.net to view and order a custom-woven, 48 x 68-inch coverlet depicting 10 historic buildings in Addison Township and the villages of Leonard and Lakeville.

"There's a beautiful picture of it on the website," said Festival Committee Member Phyllis Roe. "I've had so many people ask me, "How can I get one of these?"

Designed by the committee in 1992 as a fund-raiser for the annual Addison Township Strawberry Festival, the coverlet bears stitched pictures of Rowland Hall, Kingsbury School, Leonard High School (now the elementary school), Leonard Elevator, Bob McCallum's Gas Station, Leonard Hotel (now a party store), Leonard Train Depot, Lakeville Hotel, Log Cabin Inn and Dr. S.B. Robb Drugstore.

"I did a lot of the history on this blanket," Roe said. "There were some famous people that had stayed (at the Leonard Hotel) and they used to have big dances there."

Back when it was sold 18 years ago, Roe said the blanket was a very popular item. She estimated that at least 100 were purchased.

"We sold out right away," Roe said.

Given the level of interest in the coverlet, the committee decided to resurrect their bestselling piece of merchandise.

"I think people like to hear about the history of the area," Roe said. "I think history's becoming a little more popular now."

Just as it did in 1992, the coverlet, made in the United States, is selling for $45. All the proceeds will go toward putting on the Strawberry Festival, which is set for Saturday, July 17 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. "We're just trying to make as much money as possible," Roe said. "Normally, when we have all our kids' rides, it's like a dollar a ride or $2 a ride. We have made enough money where everything for the kids (with the exception of the pony rides) is going to be free this year."

"We are very, very happy to be able to do that," she continued. "We're hoping to be able to continue having all the children's things be for free, so this (coverlet) money will go back into our fund to hopefully do that again next year. With the economy like it is right now, you get a family of four kids and they might be able to do one or two rides. It's expensive."

The coverlet features a classic color combination of parchment, hunter green, delft blue, berry red and natural.

It is 100 percent cotton, two-and-a-half layers, preshrunk, colorfast and machine washable.

"I have had mine since 1992 – I got one of the first ones," Roe noted. "It stays in my living room on the couch and I've probably washed it three or four times and it still looks like brand new. It's not like I don't use it. I cover up with it. The kids cover up with it. It's used and it's held up very, very well."

An order form for the coverlet can be downloaded at www.strawberryfest.net.

For more information call Phyllis Roe at (248) 628-5471 or Char Sutherby at (248) 628-5429.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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