JFK ultramarathon among many things happening in Washington County this month

November 01, 2007|By TOM RIFORD / Special to The Herald-Mail

November is a wonderful time to visit Washington County, and spend some time exploring! Visitors have been flocking to experience our fall foliage, and by all accounts, last month was the busiest October we've seen at local hotels and campgrounds. There are a number of great events in November, which are fun for the family and attract visitors to Washington County.

Congratulations go out to the volunteers and organizers of the Alsatia Mummers Parade. Thanks for asking me to be grand marshal. It was truly an honor to be a part of such a long-standing, wonderful and inspiring tradition. I had a great time, it was a lot of fun. I look forward to (once again) watching the parade, next year.

Coming up on Nov. 6 is the groundbreaking for a new building at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum. It has taken a lot of work and fundraising to get this building to this point. It will house large farm equipment, and have other exhibits.


A third building, scheduled to be a transportation museum, is nearing its final stages of fundraising, with a bit more needed, according to museum volunteers. I'm pleased to be involved in this effort.

A ceremony for The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts has been set for Nov. 13. The morning event will officially start the renovations for this important downtown Hagerstown education project. This will truly be a groundbreaking event to be involved with.

I understand that Discovery Station is having a ribbon cutting on Nov. 13, celebrating the opening of a brand new children's exhibit. It's sure to be fascinating.

JFK 50-Mile

Starting in downtown Boonsboro and ending in Williamsport on Nov. 17, the JFK 50-Mile is America's oldest and largest ultramarathon. More than 1,300 participants from across the United States and around the world will compete in the 45th annual event. The race course includes the challenging Appalachian Trail, and the historic C&O Canal towpath.

Called "the world's most beautiful run through history" this was first held in Washington County in 1963. The Convention and Visitors Bureau is pleased to be a major sponsor of this prestigious race, which has significant economic impact for our county.

Trains of Christmas

The Annual Trains of Christmas at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, which begins Friday, is predicted to be bigger and better than ever. Thousands of hours of preparation go into putting together what's been called "the mid-Atlantic's best model train display and museum." Children adore this annual event, and the annual Trains of Christmas has received national news. For more information, call 301-739-4665.

Festival of Trees

The annual Festival of Trees at Robinwood Medical Center begins Wednesday, Nov. 28, and runs through Dec. 3. There are some great events scheduled during this year's festival. For more information, see

The Maryland State Boychoir Holiday Concert is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Faith Chapel (the former Colonial Theatre on South Potomac Street). Delight in the holiday spirit while enjoying this internationally acclaimed choir! This year's festival benefits the SAFE Program at Washington County Hospital.

Antietam illumination

Please mark your calendars for one of America's Top 100 Events, according to the American Bus Association. Every year at Antietam National Battlefield, more than 1,300 volunteers light 23,110 candles (luminaires).

The 19th annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination is on Saturday, Dec. 1. The luminaires will be displayed on an almost five-mile route throughout the battlefield in honor of soldiers who fell at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. There is no admission charge, but donations are accepted.

The battlefield opens at 6 p.m. for the Memorial Illumination. For more information, see This year the CVB is organizing a tour bus, which will be whisked to the front of the line. Call 301-791-3246 to reserve a seat.

Check us out

There are many wonderful things going on in Washington County - including at local museums, at the Maryland Theatre and the Washington County Arts Council. Check the events calendar on the CVB's Web site - - for a listing of activities, or stop in at the Downtown Hagerstown Visitors Welcome Center to pick up a calendar and to browse the gift shop.

Tom Riford is president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He can be reached at 301-791-3246. His column is published monthly.

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