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County stars in television productions

August 02, 2007|By TOM RIFORD

There have been some interesting things happening in Washington County this summer, including film and TV productions, large conventions, great events, and more.

Lights, camera, action

Lots of cameras were rolling in Washington County during July. A Discovery Channel network television episode was in the county for about a week. The California-based film crew filmed a Civil War two-hour TV movie on a Keedysville farm. About 40 cast and crew members were involved. The crew also filmed in nearby Gettysburg earlier in July. Another production crew filmed on a Boonsboro farm for a History Channel project, this one about World War II. This small project included about ten cast and crew. Both projects were locally coordinated by Washington County-based Historical Entertainment, which provided many of the re-enactors and movie extras. A third project was shot up at High Rock one weekend, and was a photo-shoot for a famous Japanese pop band. The photo-shoot was for the band's latest album cover. Film and TV productions create a positive local economic impact for our area, and they bring additional publicity for our county.

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Conventions and groups

Some of the recent large conventions have included the nearly 1,000-person Chevy and Camaro convention last month, there was a group of 300 deaf and hearing-impaired visitors enjoying Jellystone Park for several days at the end of July, and during the first week of August there's a 1,000-person convention of the Prince Hall Masons. Also, we have had a lot of softball tournaments coming to Washington County, including one a couple of weeks ago that booked 250 hotel rooms. We have had additional car conventions, state societies and organizations, and other groups holding events here as well. The 350-plus Antietam Workcamp, which brought teens and adults from ten states, was wonderful for our communities ("voluntourism" at its finest). It's been a busy summer so far, and these groups bring a lot of excitement and income to Washington County!

Take Pride in America awards earned

By the way, our hats are off to Kevin Brandt, the Superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and also to the many dedicated volunteers at the Antietam National Battlefield. Kevin Brandt was awarded top recognition for Federal Land Manager, and the volunteers at Antietam were recognized for their tireless efforts at not only special events, but day-to-day operations at the battlefield as well. The awards were given in July and called "Take Pride in America National Awards." The national awards program recognized 18 recipients, and to have two from our county is wonderful! The awards acknowledge outstanding contributions to conservation, preservation and education for local, state and federal public lands.

Western Maryland Rail Trail expanding

The Western Maryland Rail Trail which begins and ends in Washington County is hoping to extend another 14 miles. Sen. Robert Byrd D-W.Va., is pushing for support and help from the Senate, seeking $1 million. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the money, to extend the Western Maryland Railway through the Paw Paw Bends and now the funding bill will be considered by the full Senate. The beautifully paved 22-mile long trail begins near Fort Frederick, continues through Hancock, ending in Pearre, W.Va. Sen. Byrd had tried unsuccessfully for funding last year.

But, even without last year's federal funding, the National Park Service, working with the State of Maryland has gotten funds in order to extend the trail four miles to Little Orleans, Md., in Allegany County.

This year's $1 million appropriated by the Senate would go toward planning and a required environmental study.

The proposed 14-mile extension will wind through the Paw Paw Bends and end in Paw Paw, W.Va., and include six bridges. Last year the Urban Research and Development Corporation of Bethlehem, Pa., found that the rail trail created more than $2.9 million in annual gross direct spending from approximately 95,000 user visits to Washington County. This expansion will bring even more visitors to Hancock and Washington County.

Augustoberfest!

It's time for Augustoberfest again. Aug. 25 and 26, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, and the CVB is proud to once again sponsor this event. This year is the 12th Annual Augustoberfest, with has lots of festivities in the tradition of a good old Bavarian Oktoberfest. The Augustoberfest pays tribute to the area's rich German heritage and supports scholarships for exchange students to Hagers- town's Sister City - Wesel, Germany. Everything happens under the great big tent in the central parking lot in downtown Hagerstown.

There are lots of events throughout August, for more information about events in our county, see the event calendar on the CVB's web site: www.marylandmemories.com.

Battles mark 145th anniversaries

The weekend of Sept. 8 and 9 will be a huge one in Boonsboro! Not only will it be the 36th Annual Boonesborough Days (with more than 150 venders, entertainment, and food), but there will be a huge re-enactment on the Boonsboro Town Farm (on Monroe Road). More than 2,300 re-enactors will be demonstrating various parts of the Battles of South Mountain (Sept. 14, 1862) and Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862). Only 500 tickets are being sold for each day of the re-enactment! Get your tickets by contacting the CVB at 301-791-3246, or online at www.marylandmemories.com. Also, free trolley rides have been organized (leaving every half hour from Shafer Park), to Washington Monument State Park for demonstrations and talks about the Battle of South Mountain.

The CVB is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit organization with the mission of attracting visitors to Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry.

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