By Sean Barron
Pamela Snowden misses her late mother, Lou Fares, but a butterfly necklace around her neck serves as a fitting tribute to her loved one.
“Kelly gave me this necklace last weekend,” the North Jackson woman said about the kind act from her daughter, Kelly Abe of Cornersburg. “She wanted me to have it, and today I honor my mom.”
Suffice it to say that Abe gave a special shout-out and honor to her mother by taking Snowden to Sunday’s third annual Mother’s Day brunch at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellow Riverside Gardens.
An estimated 470 people attended the sold-out gathering, which featured three main stations, noted Patty Rydarowicz, senior events coordinator for Kravitz’s Garden Caf & Inspired Catering, which, along with Mill Creek MetroParks, coordinated and sponsored the brunch.
A waffle bar was a new addition to the menu, said Jack Kravitz, owner of Kravitz Delicatessen Inc.
“My mom is very giving and kind. She’s an excellent baker, and she’s a nurse. She’s also very supportive and is in every way the definition of motherhood,” said Abe, a seventh-grade language-arts teacher and 22-year softball coach for Jackson-Milton High School.
For her part, Snowden referred to her daughter as her “Disney partner,” meaning they have visited Disney World in Orlando, Fla., or Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., about 20 times beginning when Abe was age 4.
Accompanying mother and daughter at their table of six were Korie Gross, Abe’s niece; Cathy Dietrick, Abe’s aunt whom she called “my second mom;” Sheila Ames of Cortland, Snowden’s best friend of 40 years; and Melissa Dailey of Deerfield, Abe’s best friend.
Attendees enjoyed a variety of foods from the stations, at one of which were chefs who carved and served turkey and ham. The buffet’s main course consisted of generous portions of chicken cordon bleu with ham inside and a cream sauce on top, pomegranate glazed salmon, au gratin potatoes, steamed broccoli, hash browns, bacon, sausage, bagels and salad.
Also available was an assortment of desserts, some of which were prepared in a style called flambe, a cooking process in which alcohol is added to a hot pan, resulting in a burst of flames.
Among those who enjoyed the food and company was Kristen Sarver of Hermitage, Pa., who came with her parents, Tom and Mary Pat Lawson of Buffalo, N.Y.
“She has been an unbelievable help,” Sarver said of her mother’s guidance, assistance and interactions with Sarver’s sons, Keegan, 1, and Caden, 4, who also came to the brunch.
“She’s cool!” Caden said about his mother.
Even though they live three hours away, her mother and father are always happy to pitch in however possible when she needs anything or helps to host a family or other event, said Sarver, who also was with her husband, Zach Sarver.
“Both of my parents are great with my sons,” she continued. “The boys enjoy having them, and we enjoy having them here.”
Kravitz Garden Caf & Inspired Catering, which replaced the former Friends Specialty in September 2016 in the visitor center, continues to enjoy a close relationship with Mill Creek MetroParks, Jack Kravitz explained.
The Mother’s Day brunch is one in a series of park-related events the business hosts. Others include the annual Breakfast with Santa Christmas gathering and a St. Patrick’s Day-themed funfest called Leprechaun Lunch, a traditional Irish corned-beef buffet that includes potatoes, Rueben sandwiches, leprechaun fries, french toast sticks, vegetables and cheese cake, he said.