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Boonesborough Days re-enactments to draw tourists to county

September 07, 2007|By TOM RIFORD

More than 2,400 re-enactors are coming to Boonsboro this weekend, and officials expect more than 10,000 people will attend the annual Boonesborough Days. The re-enactors will be recreating various actions of the battles of South Mountain (Sept. 14, 1862) and Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862).

The weekend of Sept. 8-9 will be a huge one in Boonsboro! It's the 36th Annual Boonesborough Days (with more than 150 vendors, entertainment, and food), and the huge re-enactment on the Boonsboro Town Farm (on Monroe Road) is attracting national attention. While ticket sales have been limited, there are a few left for each day of the re-enactment. Since no tickets will be sold at the event, get your tickets by contacting the CVB at 301-791-3246, and find out more about the re-enactment online at www.marylandmemories.com.

Free trolley rides (leaving every half hour from Shafer Park) will take visitors to Washington Monument State Park for demonstrations and talks about the Battle of South Mountain. Rangers and volunteers at South Mountain, known as Maryland's first state battlefield park, will host special tours, talks and demonstrations.

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The CVB is helping to sponsor the re-enactment (called September Storm), and Boonesborough Days, and also is helping with the events at South Mountain State Battlefield Park. For more info, see the online brochure that the CVB created at: www.marylandmemories.org/boonsborodays.

Busy summer

As you know, the tourism industry is an important part of the local economy, with about 10 percent of the population working in the tourism field (Leisure and Hospitality classification, according to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation). How has this summer been for tourism? Occupancy and revenues at local hotels and motels have been up over 2006, and the more than 40 lodging properties in Washington County report a very busy summer season.

Campgrounds have been busy, as well. Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park reports an incredibly busy summer the park has been full every weekend since Mother's Day in mid-May. Overall business has been up more than 15 percent, which is important since the park's multimillion-dollar expansion last year which included adding a large water park.

The Hagerstown Suns deserve lots of kudos for another great season of exciting baseball action. The Suns attracted more than 140,000 attendees to Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown. According to Suns General manager Will Smith, the team eclipsed the daily-game attendance mark accomplished in 2006 by attracting an average of more than 2,260 fans per home game. The Suns are the largest attraction for visitor attendance inside the city limits of Hagerstown. Employing about 100 workers, the Suns bring national publicity and prestige for our city and county, and provide excitement and entertainment for visitors and residents alike.

September events

Even though school is back in session, there are lots of fun events planned for Washington County during the weeks to come. Of course, don't forget about the big reenactment set for Sept. 8-9. Also, there is a Downtown Live-Rock-n-Ride concert and BMX demonstration planned for Sept. 8.

There are several September weekend events planned at Fort Frederick, including a Garrison Weekend, Artillery Demonstration Weekend, and an 18th-century Soldier Weekend.

Antietam National Battlefield has several special events planned for Sept. 15 and 16. The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is hosting an international banjo conference that weekend. Sharpsburg is planning the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival for the 15th.

Hagerstown has planned an Autumn Arts Festival for City Park on the 15th and 16th, as well. Canal-Apple Days is taking place in Hancock that weekend.

The 4th Annual Chili Cook-off and Music Festival is taking place at Municipal Stadium on the 22nd. The MSO has its annual Pops Concert at The Maryland Theatre the evening of the 22nd.

The Smithsburg Steam Engine and Craft Show is set for Sept. 29-30. Also, don't forget that the Pen Mar Concert Series continues on Sundays through Sept. 30.

September is busy all over! There are lots of events planned at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, at Discovery Station, the Arts Council Gallery, The Maryland Theatre and at the many other museums throughout the county. See the online Calendar of Events found at www.marylandmemories.com.

Visit our local parks and museums, and take in some of the fun family events. With five national parks, eight state parks, more than 30 city and county parks to explore, and more than 35 museums - there's plenty to do!

Tom Riford is president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He can be reached at 301-791-3246. His column appears monthly. The CVB's Web site is www.marylandmemories.com.

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