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CVB celebrating its 10th anniversary with several big events this year

July 05, 2007|By TOM RIFORD

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The organization was "privatized" in 1997, after having been started as a county department in 1988. During the years since the CVB began, both as a county department and as a private nonprofit, the tourism industry in Washington County has grown - and helped diversify our local economy. Visitors spent $237.7 million during the last fiscal year, and about 1.9 million visitors came to our county to spend the night, to stop and shop, and to stay and play.

The tourism industry has been strong in 2007, and with half of the calendar year gone, there have been several high points of significance. But there is a lot more of the year yet to come. There are several conventions coming to Hagerstown and Washington County, and with lots to see and do here - visitors truly enjoy the Washington County experience.

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The Convention and Visitors Bureau works to help promote Hagerstown and Washington County, and works to help bring visitors here. For residents, tourism brings additional revenues (less taxes for residents to pay), and also tourism creates more amenities and more choices for residents to enjoy.

As The Herald-Mail once noted: "Tourism growth is housing growth without the headaches. Taxes are paid, businesses are patronized and people are put to work, but without the need for schools or sewer lines."

The CVB is committed to helping our local economy, through partnering and promotion. Washington County loves people who come and visit, spend money and go back home after making wonderful memories here.

Miss Maryland crowned

The Miss Maryland Pageant and the Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Pageant are over for another year.

The winners were crowned at the historic Maryland Theatre, and what a great week it was for the scores of contestants, princesses, families, friends and visitors to Hagerstown.

The contestants visited several businesses and organizations during their weeklong stay, and plans are already being made for next year's pageant week. The city and county teamed with the CVB to help keep the pageant in Hagerstown, and the economic impact and publicity has been tremendous.

Nora Roberts Day

Friday, July 6, has been declared Nora Roberts Day in Washington County.

The prolific and award-winning author will be throwing out the first pitch at the Hagerstown Suns game that night, and also the CVB and Turn the Page Bookstore have joined together to give away 1,000 Nora Roberts bobbleheads.

It will be a fun night, and everyone should go to Municipal Stadium to meet the world-famous Nora Roberts, a great ambassador for Washington County!

Salute to Independence

The 22nd Annual Salute to Independence is set for July 7.

The Antietam National Battlefield, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and the Maryland National Guard will be welcoming upwards of 35,000 people for what is expected to be the best concert and fireworks show yet!

This has been called "Maryland's Most Patriotic Event," and is arguably the largest tourism event of the year for welcoming visitors to our county. Because this year is the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, there has been a renewed interest in the Civil War, and the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

If you haven't been to this great concert and fireworks show, please plan on attending. Bring a picnic and a blanket, and spend an enjoyable afternoon and evening! The special Independence Day commemoration, with the two-hour concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and the fireworks display immediately follows. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be playing patriotic favorites, along with thundering cannons, and spectacular fireworks it's a great night!

Upcoming events

Please stop in at the Rural Heritage Museum to see the new Smithsonian Institution exhibit called: "Key Ingredients: America by Food." There are special additional lectures, displays and demonstrations all during the run of the scheduled "Key Ingredients" exhibit. To have the premier in Maryland of this national exhibit is a feather in the cap for our county, and hats off to the Rural Heritage Museum folks for making it happen! The special exhibit runs through August.

Some great events coming up include July 21-22, Smithsburg Pride Days; the July 14 C&O Canal Barge Bash in Hancock; Fort Frederick events, including Garrison Weekends; Ag Expo; the Clear Spring Carnival; and don't forget about the Pen Mar concerts and the Music by the Lake series, too!

September Storm

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is working with the Western Maryland Heritage Foundation, the Friends of South Mountain, South Mountain State Battlefield and Antietam National Battlefield and the Town of Boonsboro in helping bring the 145th anniversary of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

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