Hagerstown's Harvest Hoedown brings simple pleasure to city folks

October 13, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN ? For city folks with no country cousins, a simple pleasure came to the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon in the form of a hayride.

It wasn't exactly as romantic as Nathan Michaels had hoped ? not with 20 kids crowded onto the straw-filled cart.

But he and his date still gave it a thumbs up.

"It was fun," Michaels said. "A little loud, but fun."

The hayride was just one of many activities offered during Harvest Hoedown, a fall festival sponsored by the City of Hagerstown, Antietam Cable Television/AMC-Monsterfest, the Maryland Apple Promotion Board and Sovereign Bank.

"The event began seven years ago as a way to make people aware of, what was then, the new Fairgrounds Park," said Karen Giffin, the city's director of community affairs. "We also wanted to have a community celebration."


Since then, she said, the event has continued to grow and each year attracts thousands of people.

"Fall is the perfect time to have a festival," Giffin said. "Today, we have very nice weather, but it usually doesn't matter. We always have a great crowd. We're very proud of the event."

What makes Harvest Hoedown so popular is that there is something for everyone, she said.

"We have so many activities and everything is free," Giffin said. "The only thing you have to buy is food."

There were long lines for scarecrow making and pumpkin painting, as well as barrel rides sponsored by the Antique Tractor Club.

Other activities included a cakewalk hosted by the Sunlight 4-H Club, a petting zoo, pony rides and a magic show.

Children could play Maryland Public Television's Mystery Box Game, and adults could shop the displays set up by vendors from the City Farmers Market.

The festival also featured entertainment provided by Country Showcase of America Jamboree, as well as local dance, cheerleading, majorette and karate groups.

Giffin said youngsters also had an opportunity to try out the new play equipment unveiled Saturday at Fairgrounds Park.

The first 500 children received a pumpkin, donated by Sovereign Bank, and an apple from the Maryland Apple Promotion Board.

Lanetta Smith of Hagerstown said she and her family have attended Harvest Hoedown for the past several years.

"It's a very enjoyable day," she said. "There are so many things to do. And as a family with a lot of kids, we appreciate that the event is free."

Barb Keller of Hagerstown had taken her son, Dakota, 3, to the festival to make a scarecrow.

"I thought he would enjoy it," she said. "But I think I'm doing all of the work."

Keller said she was planning on taking the scarecrow home to decorate her front porch.

"It's something to get me in the fall spirit," she said.

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