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Western Maryland Blues Fest receives stamp of approval

May 31, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

On the eve of the start of the seventh annual Western Maryland Blues Fest, Hagerstown Postmaster Keith Guerrin on Thursday presented an envelope especially made for the event to city of Hagerstown and Blues Fest officials.

Guerrin gave framed envelopes - each with a specially made cancellation, the Blues Fest logo, and a "Greetings from Maryland" stamp - to Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner and Blues Fest Executive Chairman Carl Disque.

"That is really super," Disque said.

"I think this is unique and we appreciate it," Breichner said.

The Hagerstown Post Office made 300 of the special envelopes. The collectible will be on sale at the Blues Fest on Saturday, Guerrin said.

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People attending the festival can, at no charge, have the cancellation stamped on envelopes they bring to the event, he said.

The Post Office created the cancellation with Saturday's date and the envelope, because it wanted to do something special for the event, Guerrin said.

Blues Fest begins with a Friday night concert on the top level of the Hagerstown Municipal Parking Deck on North Potomac Street. Happy hour, limited to event sponsors and guests, is from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the deck. Other ticket holders will be admitted at 6 p.m.

The event continues downtown Saturday. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. and the music starts at 11:30 a.m.

The event wraps up Sunday with a free concert at City Park, with music scheduled from noon to 5 p.m.

Disque said the event usually draws about 15,000 to 18,000 people and grows a little each year as people return with friends.

National Weather Service meteorologist Neal DiPasquale said there is a 30 percent chance of rain Friday afternoon and a 40 percent chance of rain Friday night.

He said the weather Saturday will be sunny with highs in the 80s. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms late Sunday afternoon, he said.

Disque said he is hopeful the weather will cooperate.

"We just deal with it. It is a rain-or-shine event," he said.

There are no refunds if the event has to be stopped because of weather.

For the second year, the Blues Fest organizational committee bought rain insurance. The insurance policy costs $3,400, and will pay out $40,000 if it rains at least one-half inch between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.

Performers for this year's festival include Walter Trout and the Radicals, The Original Acoustic Hot Tuna and the Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as a selection of local and regional performers.

Information on the event is available at www.blues-fest.org.

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