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Cookie Walk attracts Christmas shoppers

By Staff | Dec 7, 2018

From left, Mountain Made Candles Owner Jessika Gibson, of Martinsburg, helps Donna Joy, of Shepherdstown, and her daughter, Shepherd University sophomore Mahayana Garcia, find gifts for Christmas during the Cookie Walk & Holiday Market. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Over a hundred-dozen cookies in a variety of flavors filled Trinity Episcopal Church’s annual Cookie Walk & Holiday Market display on Saturday, as community members milled around it and the displays of half-a-dozen local artisans and vendors in the church’s fellowship hall.

Although many of the event attendees were there for the food, others were finding Christmas gifts for their family members, friends and roommates.

“We saw the sign for the cookie walk and weren’t sure what it meant, and decided to come in and check it out,” said Donna Joy, of Shepherdstown, as her daughter shopped for candle melts to give her college roommate for Christmas.

“I like to support local business and the church, and the tickets were pretty inexpensive. At events like these, you get a lot of good quality, handmade items, and you get to meet the craftspeople and hear their stories,” Joy said, mentioning she had also enjoyed some of the food at the event. “I tried a cookie over there, it was really good.”

For event organizer Elaine Dorosh, the fundraiser is her way of giving back to her church for the years it paid for her children to participate in youth group activities. Since its inception about ten years ago, over $15,000 has been raised by the event to make sure future children in the church will also be able to join in the activities, even when their parents can’t afford to cover the cost. To show their appreciation for the event, the church’s youth group help decorate the room for the event every year.

“This is for the benefit of the youth group, for their camps, field trips and projects, so last night the youth group came in and decorated the 12-foot Christmas tree and the six-and-a-half-foot Christmas tree in here,” Dorosh said, mentioning the event has grown a lot since she started leading it six years ago.

“It started as a cookie walk, and then I came up with some ideas to expand it,” Dorosh said. Along with the holiday market and cookies, homemade soups — corn chowder, tomato bisque, vegetable soup and chicken noodle with pot pie noodles — were available for eating at the event or purchase in-bulk.

And then, there was the award-winning barbecue.

“I’m the guy who got here at 3 a.m. to cook the barbecue,” said former competitive barbecue pit master Bill Simmons, as he prepared more Memphis-style barbecue for customers. “I’ve been smoking barbecue for this church for at least ten years. Some people have been coming here year-after-year for the barbecue and the cookies.”

Although Simmons had a long day on Saturday, with the event stretching until 3 p.m., he said the effort was worth it.

“It’s all about the people, and how they appreciate the hard work we put in every year” Simmons said with a smile.