Troop 1345's 25th anniversary as Burke Centre's only chartered Boy Scout troop is reflected in the theme of this year's fall festival: A Salute to Scouting. The opening flag ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11 will recognize Troop 1345, while the opening flag ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 10, will honor all Girl and Boy Scouts who serve the Burke community.
Formed when the first homes were being built in Burke Centre, Troop 1345 has continued to grow, said Curt Hammill, troop committee chairman. "The troop's first year of charter was in December 1979," said Hammill.
Visitors to this year's Fall Festival can stop by the Scout Salute Booth to find information on the history of scouting in Burke as well as information on how to join the troop.
"We're going to use our scout skills and lash together a bridge that people can walk over outside our booth," said Hammill. Scouts attending the festival in their uniforms and helping out in the booth will receive a special patch, according to Nancy Sherman, administrative assistant at Burke Centre.
"The festival will be a hands-on weekend," said Sherman. The event includes 80 crafters from up and down the East Coast, antique furniture vendors, six more food vendors than last year, rides, games, and sports such as putt-putt golf and soccer, said Sherman. Newcomers to the festival line-up include performers Susan Greenbaum, Julie Clark, and the Topaz Vaulters. Reptiles Alive will return after several years away. Pony rides will also be offered both days of the festival instead of just one day, according to Sherman.
For the past couple of years, the festival has fallen on the weekend of Sept. 11. In order to honor the memories of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a memorial flag will be raised on the flagpole during the festival, said Colette Sheldon.
Sheldon has been attending the festival for 15 years and has acted as the Pond's neighborhood trustee to the Fall Festival committee for the past four years.
People seem to enjoy meeting with neighbors in the community, as well as people from outside the community at the festival, said Sheldon. "I think something new and unique this year is the acrobatic equestrian demonstration," said Sheldon.
The Topaz Vaulters are excited to be performing at the festival this year, according to Kay Strauss. Strauss and her husband, Michael, became involved with the Topaz Vaulters 13 years ago when their older daughter joined the team. Now, their younger daughter Elizabeth has joined and will be vaulting on Saturday morning at the festival.
"We started out not knowing anything about horses and now we are lungers (the person who controls the horse for the vaulter) and [Michael] does some horse training," said Strauss.
After the demonstration, the audience will be able to interact with the horse and meet the team, which is always looking for new vaulters, according to Strauss.
"There [will be] a wide variety of attractions for every age," said Sheldon. A "kiddie-city" will be open for toddlers and a wine booth is available with an after-hours tasting Saturday evening for adults. Live shows take place both days, including performances by Robinson Secondary's Drill Team and Barbara Sheppard's Dance Academy. Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue will be present with equipment for anyone interested and the Friends of the Burke Centre Library will host a used book sale to raise funds for the new Burke Centre branch scheduled to open in 2008.
"We are a non-profit who supports the building and future of the Burke Centre Library," said Duwain Ketch, treasurer of Burke Centre Friends. Funds raised by the book sale will support the bond referendum passed last November to build the new branch as well as support the purchase of items that will enrich patron visits, said Ketch. The book sale will also help purchase items that the library system can't afford to purchase, according to Ketch.
The Burke Centre Fall Festival takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., at 6060 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke. Free shuttle buses will run from six different parking spots until 6 p.m. both days. Last year, the festival drew around 12,000 people, according to Sherman. "[Turn-out] will be weather-dependent," she said.