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First Freedom Community Festival raises money for variety of causes

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 8/21/19

It took more than a little – OK, actually a lot – of rain to put a damper on the Freedom Community Festival that was held on the grounds of VFW Post No. 1620 in Middletown on …

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First Freedom Community Festival raises money for variety of causes

Posted

It took more than a little – OK, actually a lot – of rain to put a damper on the Freedom Community Festival that was held on the grounds of VFW Post No. 1620 in Middletown on Saturday.

The first-time event was organized by a 12-member committee of the post’s auxiliary that was led by Tina Cobaugh. Planning began about six months ago for the festival, which the auxiliary hopes to continue each year, Cobaugh said. Members picked the idea from a list of suggested fundraisers from the organization’s national headquarters.

“We came up with the idea for a freedom festival to give back to the community. It also gives a chance for us to get to know the community better,” Cobaugh said.

“For it being our first time, I think that it went well,” she added.

About a half-hour after the festivities began at noon, the event was hit by not just one, but two sudden rainstorms. After the rain cleared a short while later, however onsite activities, as well as oncoming visitors, resumed to a speedier pace.

In addition to offering a wide variety of vendors and children’s activities, the free festival also featured an in-house bake sale and 50-50 drawings to fund activities the auxiliary supports to benefit veterans — suicide awareness, a golfing event, the VA hospital in Lebanon, and a dinner for veterans on the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat, among others.

Additionally, Faire Food Xpress donated 20 percent of its proceeds to the auxiliary to support veterans. Cobaugh also garnered donations and sponsorships from area businesses to support the event.

Cobaugh said Monday that the event raised $764, and she estimated 80 to 85 people attended.

“We did make more than we thought we would make from the little crowd we did have,” Cobaugh said. “But that’s not what it was about. It was for the community to come together.”

The auxiliary held the festival in partnership with Post No. 1620. Representatives stayed throughout the day to answer veterans’ questions about benefits, post membership, and other issues.

“We hope that everyone who comes here today takes away joy and happiness. We hope that everyone can come together here,” said auxiliary member Jennifer Boes, who oversaw the event’s children’s games.

“The kids had a ball,” Cobaugh said of the games.