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Committee chairwoman helping get Fort Frederick ready for 250th

April 24, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

BIG POOL

Betsey Lillard joined the Friends of Fort Frederick about 18 months ago because she has always been fascinated by the place. So when she was asked to chair the committee overseeing the 250th anniversary of the fort, Lillard said yes.

"We are so lucky to have Fort Frederick in our county," Lillard said. She and her committee are working on the final details for the three-day celebration at the state park May 26-28.

Things are already quite busy at the fort, not only with the anniversary event in a month but also with the annual Fort Frederick Market Fair coming up Thursday through Sunday.

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Fort Frederick was built in 1756 by Maryland soldiers to protect English settlers from the French and their Indian allies. It also was used during the American Revolution and the Civil War.

The goals of the celebration are quite simple - to celebrate those 250 years of history and to promote the fort, which has been a focal point for recreation and education since the 1920s.

Lillard said the funds for the 250th anniversary observance are coming from private donations, in-kind contributions as well as from the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, both in time and money.

Dale Swope is doing the photography, John Barr of Ellsworth Electric is supplying the electrical needs and West Side Florist will provide flowers for the anniversary event, Lillard said.

"We haven't received the donations we'd hoped for from the public," she said. A brochure circulating since last fall asks for monthly donations of $17.56 from individuals, larger gifts of $1,756 from groups and organizations, and corporate/foundation grants of $17,560 to help support the efforts of the Friends of Fort Frederick's 1756 Society.

Nonetheless, all of the activities during the anniversary celebration will be free to the public, Lillard said. "We will be accepting donations during the events which can be dropped into buckets loaned to us from the Antietam National Battlefield."

There will be period music, living history presentations, receptions, a special stamp cancellation, cannon and artillery demonstrations, a groundbreaking ceremony for the new governor's house and of course, fireworks.

Numerous commemorative items are being sold through the park's concessionaire and are available at the Visitor Center and park store. Nearly all items feature the official 250th anniversary logo including coffee mugs, shot glasses, stainless steel travel mugs, a wide variety of embroidered and silk screened apparel and two styles of plates.

In addition to the items with the anniversary logo, the Friends of Fort Frederick are offering a locally-made period redware platter with a design of the fort barracks on it.

Two "My Home Town" wooden replicas - one of the fort and one of the barracks - will also be available.

Throughout the year, Fort Frederick receives operating funds from the State of Maryland as well as from admission fees.

The daughter of Dr. Edward Ditto III, Lillard and her husband, Ric, have two children.

Betsey Lillard has worked for Potomac Family Medicine in administration since 1999. Ric Lillard is regional fire manager with the Maryland Forest Service.

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