Neighborhoods festival praised

August 05, 2000

Neighborhoods festival praised

By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

Attendees, organizers and the Hagerstown mayor Saturday afternoon were calling Festival 2000 at the Hagerstown Ice & Sport Complex a success.

All proceeds for the event organized by the Neighborhoods 1st Downtown Chapter and the Fairgrounds Crime Watch Group go to preserving the historic Gatehouse Entrance Building at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds and to community revitalization.

Established in 1880, the fairgrounds were open until 1980, and then from 1985 to 1992.

Estimates of total turnout and money raised were not available Saturday evening, but the organizers are very pleased with the event and the crowd size, said event co-chair Vicky Bodnar. The event ended Saturday night.

Organizers expect an even bigger event next year, Bodnar said. They think some people stayed away because of the weather.

It rained every night of the week-long event except Saturday.

Organizers are considering having the event next year at the Hagerstown Public Square, Bodnar said. She thinks they were hampered somewhat by not being near a major thoroughfare.


Another possibility is having it on Fairgrounds property, she said.

They are also thinking about having it right after school ends, at the time of the former Maugansville/Long Meadow carnival, Bodnar said.

"It's been a great festival," said Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II. He said the carnival had more than the usual amount of rides for adults, a few of which he rode.

A survey of those attending the event Saturday found only one criticism - that it didn't have enough activities for children. Mark McAfee and Krista Fletcher of Hagerstown said that since it was near the Fairgrounds they expected it would have more rides and games for children.

Otherwise they liked and support the event, they said.

Most said it was a splendid event.

"It's nice for the kids," said Pete Celender of Chambersburg, W.Va., who came with his family and relatives. "It's a good idea."

"It's a nice idea," agreed Kevin Pennington of Baltimore, who was operating "the Sizzler" ride at the festival. He expects there will be more attendance next year.

Steve Dodson of Manassas, W.Va., attended with his wife, Barbara, son, Chris, and daughter, Lindsey. While infant Chris was scared of the rides, Chris had a blast, Steve Dodson said.

He came with Custom Cruisers, a group of custom car collectors from North Virginia. The group had some of their cars on display Saturday.

The event also featured musical entertainment, a parade and other activities.

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