The Gathering Place open house, Fall Fun of the Abingtons bring people together

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal
Lela Johnson, left, of Throop, and her friend Arianna O’Hora, of Clarks Summit, sit next to Eleanor in front of The Gathering Place. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
Carter Frear, 9, of Lake Winola, bobs for a donut. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
Hailey Frear, 4, of Lake Winola, decorates her mask with stickers at The Gathering Place. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

From left, sisters Lindsey, Lauren and Erin Bartell, of Clarks Summit, paint small pumpkins at the open house. - - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

The Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house. - - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Mark Crouthamel, who specializes in ice sculpting, carves a face on a pumpkin in front of Duffy’s Coffee House. - - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Emma Zeiss, 4, of Forest City, walks in the Child & Per Parade with her grandmother Madelaine Zeiss, left, and great aunt Betty Keen, of Clarks Summit, with their dogs Gracie, Indy, Rue and Daisy. The Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house. - - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

CLARKS SUMMIT — Eleanor sits on a bench outside the front entrance of The Gathering Place. People can sit next to her, share a conversation with her, or she can be the subject of the conversation among visitors. For she is not a person.

Eleanor is a steel wire sculpture, a gift and the namesake of Eleanor Waters. Her nephew is Joe Waters, husband of the Gathering Place’s board president Dori Waters. Because of Eleanor’s donation of $500, this sculpture, designed by local artist Sean Brady, was completed in time for The Gathering Place’s open house, which was held Oct. 28.

The open house became a big part of the festivities of the annual Fall Fun of the Abingtons set on the same day. Children dressed in costumes and their parents came to the open house to enjoy the Halloween arts and crafts.

“I think everything is coming together, so everybody could see what a wonderful place this is and how our dream is coming true,” said board secretary Ann Armezzani.

Children bobbed for donuts by trying to eat them from a string without using their hands. They also decorated masks and painted little pumpkins.

“I’m thrilled,” said board president Dori Waters. “It’s very fulfilling to see the happy children. It’s nice to see the whole community gather together.”

Grace DeSeta, who volunteered to help the children paint, listened to the singing and strumming of the Kennedy Creek Strummers, who performed for the event. She currently takes cooking classes at The Gathering Place. After listening to the band, she is considering taking ukuele classes, which are also provided in the building.

“The Gathering Place is an awesome activity resource,” she said.

People who came to the open house also had the chance to see drawings, paintings, and photographs hung for the first time for the inaugural exhibition (Oct. 27-Dec. 27). The theme is called “People.” Also hung on the wall is a wish list for anyone who wants to sign up to provide monetary funds to renovate the building’s kitchen. The list includes a stove, sinks, a refrigerator/freezer, a toaster oven, cabinets and flooring.

Outside The Gathering Place, church members of Heritage Baptist Church volunteered to serve free food. They grilled hot dogs and provided tasty treats such as cookies, cider and goodie bags for people to enjoy. They also gave out tickets for the complimentary hay rides.

“I love seeing the people come by,” said Kyle Sparkes, a staff member of Heritage. “I love giving free things.”

The community also saw live pumpkin-carving demonstrations by Mark Crouthamel, who also specializes in ice carving as owner of Sculpted Ice Works. He designed pumpkins in front of a few local businesses such as Everything Natural, Peoples Security Bank & Trust, Our Lady of Snows Church and Duffy’s Coffee House.

Fall Fun in the Abingtons concluded with a Child & Pet Costume Parade. People dressed their fur babies in cute costumes to take part in the festivities. Cheryl MacDade, of Clarks Summit, and her dog Stephanie both wore black-and-white-striped shirts. MacDadewas the referee while her dog was the “ruferee.”

“It’s great,” she said about the parade. “It was a fun event, a beautiful fall day, furry friends. Everyone was well-behaved, especially the four-legged folks.

The parade started at Citizens Savings Bank. People and their dogs walked down the sidewalk of South State Street, while passersby greeted them. They stopped at Pocket Park on Depot Street for dog treats and fellowship where dogs and owners socialized with each other. The parade was sponsored by Cherylynn Ruddy and Christine Jeske, owners of the Little Red Doghouse on Northern Blvd.

“We were glad to sponsor this event,” said Ruddy. “It was a beautiful day.”

Lela Johnson, left, of Throop, and her friend Arianna O’Hora, of Clarks Summit, sit next to Eleanor in front of The Gathering Place.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering1.jpgLela Johnson, left, of Throop, and her friend Arianna O’Hora, of Clarks Summit, sit next to Eleanor in front of The Gathering Place. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Carter Frear, 9, of Lake Winola, bobs for a donut.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering2.jpgCarter Frear, 9, of Lake Winola, bobs for a donut. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Hailey Frear, 4, of Lake Winola, decorates her mask with stickers at The Gathering Place.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering3.jpgHailey Frear, 4, of Lake Winola, decorates her mask with stickers at The Gathering Place. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

From left, sisters Lindsey, Lauren and Erin Bartell, of Clarks Summit, paint small pumpkins at the open house.

https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering4.jpg

From left, sisters Lindsey, Lauren and Erin Bartell, of Clarks Summit, paint small pumpkins at the open house. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

The Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering5.jpgThe Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Mark Crouthamel, who specializes in ice sculpting, carves a face on a pumpkin in front of Duffy’s Coffee House.

https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering6.jpg

Mark Crouthamel, who specializes in ice sculpting, carves a face on a pumpkin in front of Duffy’s Coffee House. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Emma Zeiss, 4, of Forest City, walks in the Child & Per Parade with her grandmother Madelaine Zeiss, left, and great aunt Betty Keen, of Clarks Summit, with their dogs Gracie, Indy, Rue and Daisy. The Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Gathering7.jpgEmma Zeiss, 4, of Forest City, walks in the Child & Per Parade with her grandmother Madelaine Zeiss, left, and great aunt Betty Keen, of Clarks Summit, with their dogs Gracie, Indy, Rue and Daisy. The Kennedy Creek Strummers perform for the open house. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
The Gathering Place open house, Fall Fun of the Abingtons bring people together

By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.