Family atmosphere at Dunmore Daze

A crowd enjoys music performed by the Viney Mountain Boys and Homer Hunter at Dunmore Daze last weekend. Inset, Dunmore King James Gragg and Queen Ruth Horner settle in for their royal ride in Saturday’s parade. S. Stewart photos
A crowd enjoys music performed by the Viney Mountain Boys and Homer Hunter at Dunmore Daze last weekend. Inset, Dunmore King James Gragg and Queen Ruth Horner settle in for their royal ride in Saturday’s parade. S. Stewart photos

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Everybody is family when they’re in Dunmore. It’s not important if you live within the little town’s limits or if you just frequent events at the Dunmore Community Center. It’s doesn’t matter – you’re family.

At Dunmore Daze last weekend, the celebration brought together family and friends for good food, great music and fun times.

Friday evening at the cakewalk and auction, the Dunmore Daze King and Queen were announced and honored with a crowning ceremony. Ruth Horner and James Gragg were led to their “thrones” and given the royal treatment.

Both are examples of being Dunmore-adjacent residents who have the love and spirit of Dunmore inside them.

Ruth grew up in Wesley Chapel on a large family farm, which she help tend.

“I worked on the farm and took care of my mother,” Horner said. “We had everything – sheep and cows. I helped make hay. I helped back in the horse times, and then I graduated to the tractor.”

When Ruth married Neil Horner, she moved a hop, skip and jump away to a farm nearby, where she continued to tend to the land, livestock and three step-children.

Farming was pretty normal, but on occasion, there was a little extra excitement mixed in.

“One time Neil and me were putting bales of hay in the shed, and he moved the bale of old hay and tore a yellow jacket nest in two,” Ruth recalled. “He managed to climb out of the shed. There were so many bees that I got to where I was grabbing them with my fingers and killing them.”

Now, at the age of 92, Ruth continues to live in the home she and her late-husband made together. Thoughts of leaving the area never crossed her mind.

“There wasn’t any reason to leave,” she said. “That’s all I ever knew. I didn’t have any desire to get in the rat race.”

Ruth continues to garden and in the winter, she works on her genealogy.

“I always raised a garden, ever since I can remember,” she said. “They laugh at me now, but I can go to the garden with a cane in one hand and my hoe in the other. It just seems like that’s part of life. It relaxes me. It’s more relaxing than anything else.

“When it’s too bad to go outside, I work on my genealogy,” she continued. “It’s one of my favorite past- times.”

James began his life in Dunmore, but like some, moved to another part of the county at a young age.

“Do you know where Greg Cochran’s gas supply is?” he asked. “That was my grandmother’s place and I was born there. We lived up here until I was about six or seven years old. Then we moved down above Campbelltown.”

While he lived in another town, James always kept Dunmore close to heart. He joined the Dunmore Community Center Association and always lends a hand when he can.

“I’ve been a member ever since it started, about seven or eight years ago,” he said. “Ever since we started doing the music and bingo, things like that.”

It may seem that James is a short answer, straight to the point person, but those who know him, know differently. He goes on and on when given a subject to talk about – it’s just difficult to tell the tall tales from the truth.

During the celebration, James would joke with folks, answering well wishers with, “I’ve been better, but that was years ago.”

He’s had to keep his sense of humor in the past year. James suffered two aneurysms and both of his knees are giving him issues. Despite all that, he stays light hearted.

“When I had my aneurysm, they went in there to look at my brain and sent me home because there wasn’t nothing in there for them to work on,” he said, joking.

Although he likes to joke and make wise-cracks, James is sincere when he talks about his love of Dunmore.

“I always will have Dunmore in my heart,” he said. “This is my home away from home, I reckon.”

The big day of the celebration was Saturday, which had music provided by the Viney Mountain Boys, joined by Homer Hunter, and a yard sale featuring crafters, the genealogy group and lots of yard sale items.

While the parade might have been small with only a few entries of old cars and youngsters waving to the crowd, one entry was a cut above the rest, literally.

Mike Carpenter flew his plane around the parade route several times as part of the celebration. Carpenter said he and his family built the plane from a kit. It took them four years and the plane took off successfully without any issues.

After the parade, the annual frypan throwing contest and toilet paper toss were held. Contestants lined up on the basketball court and took their turn at each test of strength and aim.

Grace Beverage, Lanae Huffman and Barbara Shinaberry won in their age groups in the frypan throwing contest and Gray Beverage won the toilet paper toss.

The celebration culminated with a square dance featuring music by Juanita Fireball and the Continental Drifters.

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