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Get ready to look for landmarks

July 18, 2004|by JAKE WOMER

If we have our way here at The Herald-Mail, the streets of Hagerstown will be a little more crowded in the coming weeks.

It's almost time for the eighth annual landmarks contest. Each year, clues are published in the newspaper, and contestants test their knowledge of the city in a scavenger-hunt mode.

Participants have to get out and really see the downtown area to spot photographic clues. Last year's contest drew some readers outdoors with clipboards and a load of determination. Some parents commented that it was a good family activity with a little exercise.

For a couple of weeks, we've been discussing where to base the contest. Should it be expanded? If so, where?

Ultimately, we opted not to mess with success. We received 252 entries - a record number - from readers for last year's contest after we raised the stakes. Contestants needed to check out six newspapers for all the clues. In return, the winner received $500, up from $100 in 2002.

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So we will be looking at the same area within the same time frame. The lone change is that two more clues will be added for a total of 12.

The dozen clues can be spotted within three blocks north, south, east or west of Hagerstown's Public Square. They are not historic landmarks, but they are relatively distinct parts of the downtown area.

We will publish close-up images of buildings, structures, walls, gates - just about anything that's a fixture - throughout Hagerstown. All clues are visible from the sidewalk. Participants simply need to identify the images and fill in the name of the building or structure and its location on the numbered entry blank, which will appear in the newspaper on Sunday, July 25.

Seven clues will appear July 25 in the Lifestyle section of the newspaper. Five more clues will be published on section fronts - one per day Monday through Friday.

The person who identifies all 12 pictures correctly will win $500, unless others also have a perfect score. If that happens, the winner's name will be drawn randomly from those who qualify.

If no one identifies all of the photos correctly, the person with the most correct answers will win, so don't be discouraged if you cannot find them all. And, again, if there's a tie, one name will be drawn randomly from the names of those who qualify.

The deadline for entries is noon Monday, Aug. 9. The winner's name and photograph, along with the correct answers, will be published Sunday, Aug. 15.

One more note from last year's contest: One contestant said he was stopped by the police for cruising because he was slowly circling the area looking for the final couple of clues. Driving is not recommended for this contest. Both the contest and driving require too much attention to compete with one another.

After all, within those 36 square blocks around Public Square, there's plenty to see and do while walking.

Jake Womer is Lifestyle editor of The Herald-Mail. You may reach him at 301-733-5131, ext. 2340, or by e-mail at jakew@herald-mail.com.

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