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Dinner in small doses

October 08, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Dozens of people took the opportunity to get a taste of the old and new flavors of downtown Hagerstown Thursday evening.

The 2004 Progressive Dinner in Downtown Hagerstown drew 68 people, at $50 each, for an evening of music, performing arts and, of course, food.

Participants started out at the Washington County Arts Council Gallery for hors d'oeuvres by Marcel's Bakery & Cafe before moving on to one of several participating downtown restaurants and, later, the Washington County Playhouse for dessert. The final stop included performances by playhouse personnel and members of the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Co.

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The ballet group and the arts council will receive the proceeds from the event, said Susie Salvagni, the event coordinator.

"We wanted to try to promote the Downtown this year by promoting the arts," Salvagni said.

Hagerstown area residents Michelle Hess and Lisa Bartell said they believed such events are good for revitalizing downtown's image and hope there will be more of them in the near future.

"I always try to talk people into going downtown, so it grows," said Hess. "The more normal people you have down here, the more people will come because they'll be less scared."

Eli Pollard, curatorial director of the art council's gallery, said the event was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the city's artistic groups and restaurants that even some longtime residents did not know existed.

"Hopefully, people were impressed by what they saw tonight and will come back," Pollard said.

The event also provided an opportunity for some of the downtown's newest businesses, including Marcel's and the Square Cup Cafe, to get on the tips of people's minds and appetites.

"It was just nice for us to be able to let those people know we're here," said Square Cup Cafe Manager Misty Leonard.

The coffee shop, which is beginning its "soft opening" schedule, served up its first day of business Thursday in Public Square in conjunction with the event.

Cheryl Kenney, owner of the restaurant Roccoco, said she has participated in the event several times because everyone benefits - businesses get exposure, nonprofit organizations get funding and participants get "fed well."

Mary Minteer, walking with her daughter Valerie Minteer from the Schmankerl Stube to the playhouse, said she had "enough leftovers for another meal" in hand.

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