Rise again

By on September 17, 2014

 

Andy Fasnacht

Andy Fasnacht

Of all the news stories unfolding over the past week, perhaps none struck a chord with the masses the way the devastating fire at Green Dragon did.
Aside from the fact this is a core business in the Ephrata community…arguably now our most famous when talking regionally…;there is something about the Dragon that clearly touches people personally.
Of course the Dragon is perhaps best known for its relationship with the agricultural community and all that it offers for the buyers and sellers &tstr; for decades. All associated with that perhaps represent one very large segment of the phenomenon that is the Green Dragon. But then there is a whole other segment that has made the famous farmers’ market a part of their lives either on a weekly, or at least regular, basis. If those in that segment don’t have these trips on their current calendar, it is likely the Dragon at one time was part of their routine &tstr; whether as a youth looking for bargains in car stereo equipment, 8-tracks or baseball cards &tstr; or just strolling through the property feasting on the buffet-like food options along the way which gives locals a taste of the fair year-round. No matter which category you fall under, chances are the Green Dragon has or continues to touch your life in one way or the other.
For me, the Dragon was a non-football Friday night must for most of my high school career. My mom actually got me in the habit, buying Raub subs for me for some pre-game meals when I couldn’t go. Perhaps it was the early days of spring that I recall best. We’d usually meet at the Rec to see if we could find some girls to go along on our adventure, then all pile into my 1972 Ford Maverick with the windows down, cranking some Jethro Tull or BTO as we made our way down North State Street. We’d always pull into that first parking lot, hop out and let the feasting begin. First, we would usually stop by our buddy Bob in that first building to see what kind of goodies he had, then dig into a fish or oyster sandwich. After that, it was off to one of the other big buildings, where Newswenger sausage aromas pulled us right inside. In the same building there was also an 8-track guy, so we could chomp down on our giant sandwiches while perusing the latest from Cheap Trick or The Cars.
We would then shop at a number of places on the way out but for some reason the night never seemed to end without me buying some sort of upgrade to my car’s stereo system. Looking back, this was quite amusing since my clearest recollection of the Maverick’s sound system was having two large wooden cabinet stereo speakers just lying flat in the back of the car. I guess all my upgrades were on the player and equalizer (the piece of equipment we all believed was the key to great sound).
For the most part we stayed out of trouble and just had good, clean fun there. I am sure most of us carried the tradition and love for the Dragon on to our own families &tstr; as obviously many others have as well.
Our hearts go out to the Rohrbachs and the many standholders (and patrons) who lost not only property but a piece of their life…and certainly a piece of local history. Take some comfort in knowing how beloved and important a place the Dragon is to the people of this area. It was inspiring and so good to hear that they only expect to miss one week as the recovery and rebuilding efforts continue. We say thanks for the memories as we all look forward to many more down the road.
***
Hats off to the Ephrata Chamber of Commerce for pulling off what I was told was one of their best-ever presentations of a downtown progressive mystery.
The Chamber had presented these annually for several years and we always had a blast participating.
Unfortunately this year I had a prior commitment (see below) and was unable to be a part of it. Nonetheless I was told our representatives Preston Whitcraft, Steve Seeber, Mandy Reidenbach, and Tim Allen all did a great job. Several commented how neat they thought it was to see community icons like Ephrata National Bank President Aaron Groff and longtime state rep Gordon Denlinger getting in the act…literally. People said they were tremendous! These types of events can really define a community and our lovely downtown provides a wonderful backdrop to it all. As the downtown continues to evolve, here’s hoping more and more of these special nights can unfold.
***
As alluded to earlier, the reason I couldn’t participate downtown was my commitment to the annual Ephrata Alumni Golf Tournament. Local ALS victim Randy Walker was selected as this year’s beneficiary and the continuing momentum of the ice bucket challenge certainly aided the cause.
The tourney was again a big success, as it was nearly sold out with all EHS graduates. In addition to all the non-corporate funds raised that day, an anonymous alum offered to match up to $2,500 any money raised for a group ice bucket challenge from a front-end loader. Due to the weather issues Saturday, this was modified to target the committee members who got the most “sponsorship” money for the challenge. The bidding was intense and in the end, three of us actually took the bath as thousands more were raised to help fight this awful disease. Thank you to all who participated and supported Randy.
***
And speaking of alumni, we are hoping to see lots more of them gather together again less than a week later when a very special night unfolds at War Memorial Field this Friday. A community grand opening is slated for Thursday night, where all the current local teams &tstr; D through varsity will scrimmage or run through plays on the new field. This should really be fun to watch and serve to display cohesiveness throughout the program as they all try out the new surface together for the first time.
But it is Friday night which could turn out to be one of the most unique events in the complex’s history.
On that night, all former EHS football players are asked to meet up before the game and eventually spread themselves around the perimeter of the stadium, preparing for what could be one of the coolest moments in War Memorial Field history. After watching the always inspirational Hall of Fame ceremonies which are set to start sometime shortly after 6:30, the football alumni will walk on to the new field together. Hopefully many will be wearing their old jerseys. I certainly plan to wear mine even if it is way too late to start dieting. We had to struggle to get those things over our pads years ago &tstr; why not struggle to get them over our big bellies Friday night? It will make us think it is game time.
It is actually…and I can’t wait. Regardless of how you feel about everything, isn’t it always a good thing when you can get together with people who have a common bond and just share some laughs and smiles? One of the many people I’m really looking forward to meeting (and he said he is coming) is Dennis Zimmerman. I’ve never met Dennis in my life but after 28 years here, I’ve had more people than I can count tell me he was about as good an athlete as Ephrata ever had. And like I said, that’s just one person.
Sure we all know the program is at the foot of a large, steep hill right now. But tell me why we shouldn’t put on some jerseys and music, fire up the engines and see how many people are willing to get behind and give a push?
See you Friday!

 

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