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Try a night out downtown

January 07, 2004

Will people come to downtown Hagerstown at night? Apparently so, because the trial run of the city's "Thursday Night Out On the Town" promotion has been so successful that city officials are planning on holding it once a month during 2004, beginning this Thursday, Jan. 8. Now it's up to citizens of the surrounding communities to try an evening out downtown.

According to Deborah Everhart, the city's economic development director, the "night out" will be held on the second Thursday of each month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

At that time, parking in the North Potomac Street deck will be free and selected merchants will offer coupons for a free dessert to those who buy dinner downtown at the following restaurants:

- The Gourmet Goat, The Broad Axe, Schmankerl Stube, Rocky's, The Rhubarb House, Roccoco and Bentley's Bagels. Reservations are recommended.

In December, carolers entertained during the downtown event, but this month it will be dancers from the City Ballet School. In addition, the Washington County Arts Council is organizing a gallery walk. For more information, please call 301-791-3132.

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As a part of that, the Just Lookin' Gallery at 40 Summit Ave., will stay open until 8:30 p.m. and will feature an exhibit of two- and three-dimensional art. For more information, call 301-714-2278, or visit their Web site at www.justlookin.com.

In addition, 11 city merchants are having special promotions that day, including Tranquility (formerly Potomac Day Spa), Elizabethtowne Gifts, Hub City General Store, The Boutique LLc, Maggie's Hang-ups, The Figurehead II, Hoffman Clothiers, Dollar Plus, Lena DarnerBoutique, Basketful of Gifts and L&L Classic Clothing.

Why should you give this downtown Hagerstown event a try? Because most merchants and restaurant operators there are not affiliated with large chains. Their profits depend on satisfying everyone who comes though the door with good values and personal service. But first somebody has to give them a chance to perform.

Together with city officials, they're working to create a cultural life downtown that doesn't end at 5 p.m. If they succeed, there will be more jobs and more tax-paying businesses in a county seat that will demonstrate that local people care about what happens to downtown. With your help this Thursday, it can happen.

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