This past weekend's seventh annual Mason-Dixon Cup Soccer Tournament drew 1,600 players from at least five states to Hagerstown and has grown from an initial field of 70 teams to about 100 in 1997.
But while participation in the tournament itself has grown, there hasn't been any growth in the sort of tourism promotion that would turn this event into a full-fledged tourist event like the Crestar Tournament in Roanoke, Va.
Officials there, knowing that thousands of players (and thousands of players' family members) will be in town for the event, have set up several days' worth of activities that serve two purposes. The events provide something for team members and their families to do between games, but they also create an impression of Roanoke as a visitor-friendly community.
Such an impression is the first step toward getting people to spend their dollars and to tell other people about their pleasant experiences there. Hagerstown and Washington County ought to hitch their wagons to this star by promoting and developing activities to capitalize on the captive audience that's here during the tournament weekend.