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'Everybody's Day' a hit at Pen-Mark Park

August 29, 1999

Everybody's dayBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photos: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




CASCADE - Each weekend from early spring to fall, hundreds of music lovers flock to Pen Mar Park's Big Band concerts to twist and twirl back to the time of the De Soto, swing dancing and Tommy Dorsey.

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On Sunday the crowd swelled to more than 4,000 for "Everybody's Day," an annual event at the park which features not only music, but children's games, antique cars, photographs and carousel displays.

Some came for the day bringing a picnic and their children, for whom there were no shortage of activities, including sack races, water balloon tosses and a production by the Beale Street Puppets group.

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Others were attracted by the tunes, placing folding chairs outside the main pavilion to hear the band Strictly Yours perform jazz favorites. A jitterbug and waltz contest provided the incentive for couples young and old to show off their skills on the dance floor.

When it came to dancing, many couples dressed to the nines, bringing to mind Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Others went casual with shorts and sneakers, but all showed their enthusiasm for the music and the day.

Everybody's day"It's gone really well. People enjoy the Big Band music, which was popular during the park's heyday," said organizer Jim Powers, secretary/treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians Local 770. This year's event was dedicated to the late Bruno Jensen, formerly of Hagerstown, he said.

Jensen, who died a few months ago at the age of 95, came to Pen Mar regularly with his family and contributed generously, said Powers.

Low humidity and 80-degree temperatures made the evening a delight, said George Funkhouser of Hagerstown.

The clear weather provided a panoramic view of Washington County.

Funkhouser and his wife, Cindy, have been coming to Everybody's Day for the last five years.

They brought a picnic, but they left their children at home. The evening was a chance for the couple to enjoy the music and being together, they said.

The Funkhousers took to the dance floor for a slow dance - their first ever at the park.

"It's not the music we grew up on - it's more our parents era. But any music is good to listen to," said Cindy Funkhouser.

Other attractions at the park included memorabilia from the Hagerstown Roundhouse museum, a balloon crafting clown and more than 45 classic cars from the 81/70 Cruisers.

The Potamac Dancers of Hagerstown performed several American Indian dances before an enormous tepee.

Wearing vibrantly colored costumes and headdresses, the performers did a selection in honor of area veterans, a grass dance and a gourd dance.

Anthony and June Mitchell of Hagerstown brought a wooden carousel they made to be displayed for Everybody's Day.

A retired machinist, Anthony Mitchell said he enjoyed hand-carving the 36 miniature wooden horses. His wife painted them and did other detail work.

"It's really nice up here," he said. "I like the view and music."

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