Around Hancock

July 27, 2006|by ANNE WEATHERHOLTZ

Fireworks and politicians seem to go together

Why do politicians and fireworks go together? Not sure? Neither am I, but both were blazing away in Hancock last Saturday at the 2006 Barge Bash.

The politicians roved the banks of the C&O Canal, almost outnumbering tourists (yes - a slight exaggeration!) enjoying the sights and fun of a unique small-town festival.

From the governor's office to the local school board, candidates of all parties and persuasions seemed to be having a good time. Local citizens were greeted - handshakes all 'round - and given a piece of literature or a small badge to pin or stick on.


In an election year, this festival is timed just right to serve as a bit of a trial run for the races that have left the starting gate and are galloping toward September and November.

Aside from the runners for office, the next best entertainment along the canal were the boats and their runners.

Eleven barges actually floated - none sunk this year - with creative themes from "Pirates of the Potomac" to "Cleopatra." The St. Thomas' Episcopal Youth Fellowship created "Rock 'n' for Christ," and Boy Scouts Troop 15 sailed an Indian Chief astride two canoes.

The People's Choice Award went to "The Beverly Hillbillies Do Hancock," a float sponsored by Hott Construction, but representing the Interfaith Service Coalition, complete with "Granny" (ISC volunteer Tillie Exline), "Jed Clampett" (ISC Board member The Rev. Steve McCarty), and "Jesse," Rev. Steve's real life bloodhound, who looked his part and really seemed to enjoy the ride in the old Model T.

I hear there are plans to sail it again, on wheels this fall, for the Canal Apple Days Parade and the Hancock Halloween Parade!

The summer weather cooperated beautifully for our fourth annual Barge Bash, restraining brief showers until late afternoon, then clearing and cooling off for the fireworks in the park, which blazed away, accompanied by the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of a huge, capacity crowd. Politicians to fireworks - all the makings of an American small-town festival!

Band camp gets under way

Band camp is under way all this week for the Panthers Band of Hancock Middle-Senior High School!

This year, Band Director Micah Socks has assembled a whole crew of his contemporaries to help teach and encourage the kids.

Makes me feel "old" to see these wonderful competent 20-somethings taking the leadership and enjoying themselves so much.

As usual, the camp is being held at the Baker National Guard Training Facility west of Hancock. More than 30 musicians and guard members are participating in an intensive residential program of learning, fun and challenge.

By the end of the week, they will have most of the fall field show learned and will do a presentation for their parents on Friday evening before returning home.

Mr. Socks notes that the band will have several additional practices in August before school starts.

Busy Sunday

This Sunday, July 30, several events of note will be taking place.

The Panthers Band, fresh from band camp, will be sponsoring a basket bingo at the Hancock American Legion. Tickets are $20 per person for 24 games. There will also be raffles, refreshments and the usual add-ons to help raise funds. You may purchase tickets by calling 301-678-7287. Bingo begins at 2 p.m. but the doors will open at noon.

Open house

If you are not playing bingo, or even after you finish, you may want to take time to stop by for the open house from 1 to 4 p.m. at the new 1828 Trail Inn Bed and Breakfast at 10 W. Main St.

Bill and Darlene Smith have completely renovated the charming old stucco house which was once the residence of a prominent local doctor.

They have taken every care to restore the woodwork, adding new moldings and furnishings that completely complement the age of this gracious home.

All this, plus beautiful modern bathrooms, a sheltered patio and huge wrap-around porch, make this B&B one of the greatest additions to Main Street in a long time.

The 1828 Trail Inn is a perfect place for a getaway, a honeymoon (first, second, whatever!), or a gift to parents or friends or just for anyone traveling through our town. It is just one block from the Rail Trail, making it a perfect stopover for those cycling the trail or hiking the towpath. I can vouch for the delicious breakfasts, served with antique dishes, silver and linen, plus the warm welcome from Innkeepers Darlene and "Breakfast Chef" Bill. Don't miss this chance to see the place!

Frye to give talk

And if that weren't enough, the Hancock Historical Society will hold its quarterly meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Hancock United Methodist Church, 170 W. Main St.

Guest speaker John Frye, who hangs out in the county archives at Washington County Free Library, will speak on "George Washington's Dream: The Potomac Route West." Refreshments will be served.

National Night Out

The Hancock version of "National Night Out Against Crime" is on the horizon for next Tuesday, Aug. 1. Rain date is Thursday, Aug. 3.

Widmeyer Park, just west of downtown, will once again be the venue for all kinds of events - law enforcement displays, safety demonstrations, sports, swimming, music and plenty of free food!

Mayor Dan Murphy will lead a welcoming ceremony at 6 p.m, launching a host of activities which will continue until 10.

It's all compliments of the Hancock Police Department with organizational assistance from the Interfaith Service Coalition.

Take time to come down and say hello to Police Chief T. J. Buskirk and his crew. Maybe you can meet Hancock's newest police officer, Scott Wolff. Wolff hails from Clear Spring and is due to begin work here in mid-August.

This will be Hancock's seventh year to participate in "National Night Out" an annual summer observance sponsored by law enforcement agencies in communities all across the nation.

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