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Downtown to offer free parking and Hollyfest

November 03, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

Motorists will be allowed to park for free in downtown Hagerstown at designated times during the holiday season.

Free parking will begin Nov. 19 and continue until Christmas Day, City Finance Director Alfred Martin said. Motorists will be permitted to park free in city parking decks for two hours on weekdays and after 7 p.m. on weeknights.

Parking will be free on weekends, he said.

"It's to encourage people to come downtown," Martin said. "There's a surplus of parking spaces."

Meter parking will not change, he said. People will be required, as usual, to put coins in the downtown parking meters from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Martin said the city will lose about $2,000 as a result of the holiday parking program because motorists usually are charged $1 to park in the garages on evenings and weekends.

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The parking program begins the same day as Hollyfest, an event on Public Square that features Christmas carols at 5 p.m. and a tree-lighting ceremony, said Abigail Elliott, the city's events and programs specialist.

At 7 that evening, Hollyfest will move to the stage of The Maryland Theatre, where Whitney Colombo, Miss Washington County 2007, is scheduled to read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" to children, Elliott said. The Potomac Classical Youth Ballet and the Northern Middle School Orchestra will be among some of the performers at the theater.

Hollyfest is free and open to the public, she said.

Karen Giffin, city community affairs director, said Hollyfest has been held for the last 18 years.

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