May is Tourism Month in county

May 05, 2006|by Tom Riford

May is Tourism Month! There are many wonderful opportunities for visitors and residents alike to enjoy what's here in Washington County.

With local hotels continuing to report healthy occupancies, on pace to exceed last year's totals, we're very optimistic for a great 2006. According to the state's DLLR, there are about 6,000 Washington County residents employed in the local tourism industry - an increase of 400 jobs since this time last year.

Washington County History Week is May 1-7, concluding with the third annual Washington County Museum Ramble. Don't forget that the Ramble is this weekend - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The Washington County Association of Museums and Historical Sites and the CVB are sponsoring the Museum Ramble to provide a sampling of some of our county's more than 30 local museums. Please discover our museums - if you've never been before, or revisit some of your favorites. Many of the museums participating in the Ramble are opening especially for this weekend event. We've had a lot of fun planning this year's Ramble I can't wait to see the historic Burma Shave Signs at the Roundhouse, visit Moonshine at Frog Hollow at the Boonsborough Museum, and try to figure out what Lazy Wife Beans are at the Rural Heritage Museum.


Kids will love the goings-on at the Discovery Station, and the Jonathan Hager House and Miller House both have special plans for one and all. Some museums, including the Pry House, are having their season opening this weekend.

The Museum Ramble will again be a self-guided tour. Most of the participating museums will be opening their doors free of charge. Maps and directions to all the sites, as well as complimentary light refreshments, can be obtained at the Visitor Welcome Center at 16 Public Square, Hagerstown.

Not only are visitors invited to view museum collections and learn about the various unique features of this extraordinary county, but most of the organizations have also planned special surprises. More information about the Ramble can be found at

May 13-21 is National, Maryland and Washington County Tourism Week. "See America Week" is an annual event sponsored by the Travel Industry Association of America, where hundreds of cities and towns across the nation promote greater public awareness of the powerful economic, social and cultural impacts of travel and tourism through local events and celebrations.

In Maryland, the week includes special observances throughout the state. Come to the Downtown Hagerstown Visitor Welcome Center to learn more about the many events and activities in Washington County.

One of the fun events is being put on by the Hagers-town Suns on Mother's Day, May 14. The Suns will help spread awareness about the threats of breast cancer in our community. This is the first "Pitching Pink" day in Suns history. Beginning at 12:35 p.m., the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative pink Suns baseball cap, and every mother in attendance will receive a gift courtesy of the Suns. There will also be several fundraisers benefiting Breast Cancer Awareness of the Cumberland Valley, including a "Shirt-Off-Our-Back" jersey auction and a Mother's Day Picnic Feast.

The Suns players will wear special pink jerseys on Mother's Day. Money from the jersey auction will go to breast cancer awareness. All jerseys will be auctioned during the game. Three game-used team-autographed pink bases will be auctioned as well. Additionally, the Suns are selling pink awareness ribbons in the new souvenir store for $1. The ribbons will hang in windows around the ballpark, and all money earned from the ribbon sales will also be donated to BCA-CV. This sounds like a wonderful Mother's Day event.

An event which brings positive national attention to Washington County is the annual National Pike Festival. This year's festival runs from May 19-21. For more information about the annual festival, see www.national The CVB is a proud sponsor of this event.

I understand that sign-ups are going very well, and it's a great list of activities for this year's wagon train. The event starts in Clear Spring, with an overnight wagon train encampment and community dinner at the American Legion on May 19. On Saturday, May 20, the wagon train travels along U.S. 40 past Wilson's General Store, and if the weather cooperates, it will pass right over the historic Wilson Bridge. That's a sight to see.

The wagon train stops in the afternoon in Hagers-town's City Park, and then encamps at the Ag Implement Center on Wilson Boulevard. On Sunday, May 21, the wagon train continues to roll toward Boonsboro, stopping at the Ravenwood Retirement Community, Auction Square Complex and then ends at Shafer Memorial Park.

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