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.