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Magical evening raises money for Safe Place

Maryland Theatre event benefits Washington County's Child Advocacy Center

Maryland Theatre event benefits Washington County's Child Advocacy Center

April 26, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- An innovative juggler and ventriloquist entertained the crowd Saturday night at The Maryland Theatre during the second annual Evening of Comedy & Magic, held to benefit Safe Place, Washington County's Child Advocacy Center.

Kaitlyn Hollinger, 10, attended the event last year and thought it was exciting. This year, she brought a friend.

"My best friend, Kaitlyn, said it was fun and I would have a great time," Angelina VanPelt said.

Kaitlyn's little brother, 6-year-old Kameron Hollinger, called the magic show "very very cool."

The event was sponsored by Friends of Safe Place, and organizers hoped to raise about $5,000 Saturday night.

Proceeds will help offset the costs of a 2,200-square-foot addition, said Teresa Thorn, program director for Safe Place.

Greg Kennedy opened the evening's show, juggling lights and flags amid applause.

Kennedy later managed to juggle a 16-pound bowling bowl, a cast-iron hatchet and a beanbag. He assured the audience that it was, in fact, a real bean bag. He then managed to toss the hatchet and, later, the bowling bowl underneath his leg during the juggling act.

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Ventriloquist Pete Michaels entertained the audience as he chatted with some of his "dummies," including an 85-year-old Italian man and a space alien. He also pulled in members of the audience to pose as Sonny and Cher and lead the crowd in a rendition of "I Got You Babe."

Washington County rates fourth-highest among Maryland counties in terms of child-abuse rates, Thorn said.

Safe Place provides access to law enforcement, child protective services and prosecutors as well as counseling, medical exams and victim advocacy, she said.

Each year, there are more than 1,600 investigations into child abuse reports, and Safe Place serves more than 800 sexually or physically abused children each year.

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