National Pike Festival set for May 18-20

Wagon train to travel from Clear Spring to Boonsboro with stops on the way

Wagon train to travel from Clear Spring to Boonsboro with stops on the way

May 10, 2007

Washington County will celebrate its 19th year of participation in the National Pike Festival on May 18-20.

It is just one of many counties throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio that celebrate this 300-mile route with authentic wagon trains and other old-fashioned activities, and the only Maryland County participating in the annual festival.

"In today's fast-paced environment with high fuel prices, we don't often consider the roots of our heritage," said festival organizer Laura Bowman. "The wagon train gives a little glimpse of how things were 200 years ago, and it's something that people of all ages enjoy."

The festival and wagon train is sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the James Shaull Wagon Train Foundation Inc.


According to CVB President Tom Riford, "We're very pleased to participate in this uniquely Washington County annual event. Remembering our history and heritage is important, and visitors and residents alike are encouraged to come out and cheer for the wagon train as it makes its way across Washington County."

More than 30 wagons are anticipated to participate in this year's annual old-fashioned wagon train. The festival begins on Friday, May 18, at the historic Plumb Grove Mansion in Clear Spring. Food will be available for purchase and the wagon train encampment will be open to the public. A 5K run gets things started on Saturday, May 19, followed by the Pike Days parade. New this year is a wide variety of activities offered at Clear Spring High School by the school's Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni.

The wagon train will continue east on U.S. 40, making several stops along the way at Wilson's Store, Wilson's Bridge and Huyetts Crossroads. After going through Public Square in downtown Hagerstown, it will proceed to Hagerstown City Park. Saturday night the participants will camp at the Ag Implement Center on Wilson Boulevard.

On Sunday, May 20, the wagon train will make its way along Alternate U.S. 40 with stops at Ravenwood Lutheran Village and the Boonsboro Auction Square Complex. Following a break for lunch at Stinger's Pub in the Auction Square, the wagon train will continue on to its final destination for a celebration at Boonsboro's Shafer Park.

In 1797, Baltimore bankers and businessmen were instrumental in extending the Baltimore-National Pike, also known in Washington County as the Bank Road, to Cumberland, Md., and it became part of the National Pike. In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson signed into law an act authorizing federal funds to build a road from Cumberland to Ohio. This act set the stage for federal support of the transportation system as it is known today.

The May 18-20 festival is part of what's been come to be known as the "World's Longest Festival." Stretching some 300 miles, from Ohio through Maryland, the festival celebrates what's been called "The Road That Made The Nation." Celebrations occur in communities along 300 miles of the historic national road. As organizers point out, the National Pike was the first federally-funded road built in America.

National Pike activities

Clear Spring Friday, May 18

Public welcome.

· Plumb Grove, 12654 Broadfording Road, Clear Spring, at the intersection of North Martin Street and Broadfording Road; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Plumb Grove is a historical home built in 1831 and restored by the Clear Spring District Historical Association.

· Wagon Train Encampment. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 19

Public welcome

· Wagon Train departs at 9 a.m. from Plumb Grove, Clear Spring, traveling east along U.S. 40.

Clear Spring High School

Saturday, May 19

·Antique Tractor Competition (pre-registration 7 to 9 a.m.)

·Yard sale/craft sale

·Betsy (Cow) Bingo - tickets for $5, if cow deposits on your square, you win $100.

·Kids Games and Petting Zoo;

· Junior Olympics (includes seed spitting and other competitions);

· Food Stand

Wilson's Store and Bridge

Saturday, May 19

Located on U.S. 40 above Conococheague Creek. Great photo opportunity for the time period at both the store and bridge. (Bridge crossing will be weather permitting).

· Wagon train stop, 10:30 a.m.

· Wilson Store, authentically restored country store, circa 1850.

· One-room school, restored circa 1855.

· Cross Wilson Stone Bridge, 11 a.m., weather permitting.

Huyetts Crossroads

(WACOHU Grange)

Saturday, May 19

· Sits 100 yards west of the U.S. 40 and Md. 63 intersection.

Public welcome.

· Wagon Train stop, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

· Breakfast offered for cost, 7 to 11 a.m.

· Chicken barbecue for cost supports scholarship program.

· Bake sale and flea market.

Hagerstown City Park

Saturday, May 19

Public welcome

Good photo opportunity. Northern end of park between Hager House and Museum of Fine Arts.

· Wagon Train Stop, 2 p.m.

· Jonathan Hager House will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

· Washington County Museum of Fine Arts open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ralph Anderson's Ag Center

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