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Fall foliage, special events draw visitors to Washington County

October 04, 2007|By Tom Riford, Special to The Herald-Mail

October is a spectacular month in Washington County. The fall foliage attracts people from throughout the mid-Atlantic, who love hiking and biking on the C&O Canal, or watching the sunset from High Rock, or taking in the views from Sideling Hill.

Great events

This weekend of Oct. 6-7 includes the 9th Annual Hagerstown Fly-in. The event takes place at Hagerstown Aircraft Services at Hagerstown Regional Airport. Lots of historic aircraft will be on display, including planes from World War II, and Fairchild-built aircraft. Free Young Eagle Flights will be available for youngsters ages 8 to 17.

The CVB is proud to help sponsor this event and the bus tours of Hagerstown's historic aviation sites on Saturday. This event is free, with food and beverages available.

On Saturday night, there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a 1940s-style Hangar Dance ? just like the old USO dances. The Ray Birely Orchestra will play swing music. Tickets are available at the CVB, Discovery Station and at WJEJ. The CVB is partnering with the Hagerstown Aviation Museum and WJEJ for the Hangar Dance.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there are many events that help raise awareness of a disease that affects one of every eight women. Most of the events are open to the public, including the annual Cyclocross Challenge Against Breast Cancer Bicycle Race at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds on Oct. 6. There are several other events including the annual Step-and-Stride at HCC on Oct. 20.

The Seventh Annual Harvest Hoedown and the Third Annual Community Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Fairgrounds Park.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra has a Masterworks concert planned for Oct. 13 and 14, with renowned pianist Yuja Wang.

Downtown Hagerstown will be full of music and art on Oct. 20 when Demcore Entertainment welcomes nine bands to Public Square. The concerts begin at 11 a.m. and will run to 10 p.m. A Children's Area will be set up from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and an Artists Row will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children under 12 will be admitted free. The event will benefit the Washington County Historical Society and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

Don't forget about the Downtown Hagerstown hay rides, and the walking "ghost tours." The tours will begin and end at the Washington County Free Library on the evening of Friday, Oct. 26.

The Jonathan Hager House is hosting "Haunted Hager House Tours" during October.

The Discovery Station has some great Saturday Plus events planned, and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has wonderful exhibits in October.

The Leitersburg Haunted House will be open again this month, and the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater will present "Death and Deceit on the Nile." Fort Frederick has an Artillery Weekend planned for Oct. 27-28, and the Beaver Creek School plans a reunion (contact the Washington County Historical Society at 301-797-8782 about this Oct. 27 event). I understand that the Williamsport Town Museum is planning a haunted local folklore event on Oct. 28.

Mummers Parade

The annual Alsatia Mummers Parade will be held Oct. 27, with marchers stepping off at 7 p.m.

Hagerstown is the proud host of the largest nighttime Halloween parade on the East Coast. This year's parade is the 83rd and more than 10,000 participants are expected to march down Potomac Street from the Point on North Potomac Street to South Hagerstown High School.

The parade is judged, and thousands of dollars in prizes are awarded annually.

The Alsatia Club started the parade in the fall of 1921 as a way of deterring Halloween vandals. It was a success and has been going strong ever since, except during the war years of 1942-45. The CVB is proud to again help sponsor this year's parade.

In the past, it was reported that the parade drew 150,000 people. During the last few years, city officials have reported crowds of 50,000. The Alsatia Club sells tickets for about 2,500 bleacher seats and 3,000 chairs every year.

This year's parade will have more than 200 units, including marching bands, floats, dignitaries and marching mummers and firetrucks.

For more information, including prices for seating and seating locations, contact the Alsatia Club at 301-739-2044.

I understand that the Maryland Theatre is helping with ticket sales this year, too. That number is 301-790-2000.

Tom Riford is the President and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership 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. The organization also works to attract conventions, groups, bus tours, and reunions to Washington County.

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