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Augustoberfest artist painting from memory lane

August 16, 2000

Augustoberfest artist painting from memory lane



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: RYAN ANSON / staff photographer

John JenningsWhen John Jennings recalls growing up in Hagerstown in the 1950s and '60s he has vivid images of cruising Dual Highway and hanging out at popular eateries.

Participants in this weekend's Augustoberfest will get a good look at Jennings' memories because they will line the inside back portion of the event's main tent.

Jennings, 53, designed and airbrushed much of a huge mural that will decorate the Augustoberfest tent in the South Potomac Street parking lot this Friday and Saturday.

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The event will have a "'60s Under the Stars" theme Friday night, hence the trip down memory lane.

"I'm calling this John's memories," said Vicki Bodnar, who is in charge of decorating for Augustoberfest.

The 110-foot-by-8-foot muslin mural features seven popular eateries from the '50s and '60s in the Hub City, including Richardson's Drive-In, the precursor to Richardson's Restaurant.

The mural features several cars that used to pull into the drive-in, including Jennings' red AMX and a baby blue '57 Chevy convertible Mary White used to drive, he said.

Jennings said the drive-in was a must stop before cruising downtown and heading back to Richardson's.

Jennings also remembers heading over to "The Val," or the Valencia, for a soda fountain Coke and some pinball after school let out across the street at North Hagerstown Junior High.

"All the pretty girls hung out there," he said.

Many people will be familiar with Jennings' depictions of those popular spots, including the antique peanut roaster that sat in front of Cromer's on East Franklin Street.

Other eateries featured on the banner are the Snow White Grill, South's, the Majestic and the Dutch Kitchen.

Bodnar enlisted the help of Jennings and Hagerstown artist Henri Verdel to create the banner. A few other people volunteered their time to help the trio paint the banner.

Jennings and other volunteers have been working on the banner for six days as it hangs on the side of the Fridinger-Ritchie Co. Inc. building.

Several of them will be needed Friday to carry the huge banner down the street to the event tent.

Tickets to the Augustoberfest cost $5 for Friday and $5 for Saturday's events.

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