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Lollipopalooza brings children and adults to HCC

August 18, 2007|By DON AINES

Pam the Pig could not complete the card trick of her comic ventriloquist/magician owner, but the crowd of toddlers, tots, preschoolers and back-to-schoolers at Saturday's Lollipopalooza still was appreciative.

"This is the first time in nine years she hasn't done it," said Tom Crowl, as he tried unsuccessfully to entice Pam to root out the card a girl had picked from a deck he had placed in a paper shopping bag.

Crowl's routines with a wise-quacking duck and talking dragon went off without a hitch for the crowd of about 150 children, parents and grandparents gathered at the Alumni Amphitheater of Hagerstown Community College for the seventh annual Lollipopalooza.

For many of those in the audience, this is the last weekend of summer vacation, with Washington County Public Schools back in session on Wednesday.

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"It's a free event to give the kids one last shot at having fun before going back to school, and we also collect school supplies for Children In Need," said Renee Earley, the college's coordinator of student activities.

The event was organized by HCC's Student Government Association, she said.

Children, their faces painted with hearts and flowers, cuddled balloon animals, sported balloon hats and dueled with balloon sabers, while others slid down from the parapets of an inflatable castle provided by Phantom Shadow Entertainment, or downed hot dogs and nachos sold by the HCC Alumni Association.

"We spent over half an hour on the slide ... I think she liked that best," Carisa Ravotta of Hagerstown said of her 3-year-old daughter, Ella, who was scampering about too fast to stop for an interview.

People were asked to bring school supplies for Children In Need, a program started in the 1990s by the late Art Richards. The program supplies book bags, pencils, notebooks, rulers and other classrooms necessities to disadvantaged children in the county.

Steven Bowers, a retired elementary school principal, was there with his wife, Willa Kay, and granddaughter, McKenna. The principals of county schools put together a list of those items they need for students, even shoes and lice shampoo and combs, he said.

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