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Cruising NWKS: Just like old times

8/21/2012

By GAYLE WEBER

By GAYLE WEBER

gweber@dailynews.net

KENSINGTON -- Lawn chairs lined the shaded west side of Main Street here Saturday night. There were lines for hamburgers, pie and walking tacos, and children couldn't wait to dunk someone at the dunk tank.

It's not exactly like it used to be, but it's pretty darn close.

Old Fashioned Saturday Night, a tradition here for at least a quarter of a century, brings people together, not just from Kensington, but from the surrounding area, too.

This year, it also celebrated the town's 125th anniversary. And every game and food booth supports something that keeps the town of 470 people thriving.

"For a little town of probably less than 500 people, they just have an incredible turnout," Penny Dorn, Kensington, said as she ate some of the aforementioned pie with her husband, Merle, and son, Chad. "Each year it gets bigger and better."

The Dorns have lived in Kensington for approximately five years, moving here from Nebraska.

"It's just so much fun to come to all the little town celebrations," Dorn said. "We never had that in Nebraska, at least where we came from."

Dorn was one of many who helped support the Kensington Community Store, a community-owned grocery store on Main Street, during the event. She bought a handful of flowers from Cindy Rahjes and her 6-year-old granddaughter Lauren Dolezal as they led a wagon full of them up and down Main Street on Saturday night.

During the summer, residents could have these flowers put in other residents' yards for $5, then residents could have them removed from their yard for $5.

It cost $5 to find out who put them in someone's yard. And it was another $5 to buy "insurance" to make sure the flowers never appeared in one's yard again, Rahjes said. But all that came to an end Saturday night as she and her granddaughter sold the remaining flowers -- many times the only color in drought-stricken yards across town this summer.

Children's games including ring toss, feed the monkeys and more also benefited the store.

Much of Old-Fashioned Saturday Night centers around children. It starts with a kiddie parade, which features children in Power Wheels and leading their pets down Main Street.

"The kiddie parade is really special," said Dorn, who saw her grandchildren march through this year.

The Thunder Ridge junior and senior high cheerleaders and dance team members put on a show, which this year also featured 40 young girls who participated in camp with the cheerleaders and dancers earlier in the week.

"The kids just have a ball," Dorn said.