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Rain delays festivities at Fairgrounds Park

July 05, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Rain canceled the opening ceremony of Hagerstown's Fourth of July celebration at Fairgrounds Park, but by 6:30 p.m. a band was playing the blues despite a steady drizzle.

The fireworks display began at about 10:30 - an hour later than scheduled.

Early Friday evening, only a dozen gathered for the music at first. Several boys danced in the rain, playing air guitar and pounding out the band's rhythms with their fists.

But as the rain cleared, a steady crowd filled the area in front of Friday night's band, Jumptown.

Many of those at the Fairgrounds said Friday that they go there for the fireworks every year.

Police estimated that 15,000 people attended the fireworks display, Hagerstown Community Affairs Director Karen Giffin said. A flyover by historic Fairchild aircraft, scheduled as part of the opening ceremony, was canceled because of the weather.

Alicia and David Hoffman of Hagerstown walked hand-in-hand under umbrellas, both wearing red shirts and blue denim pants. The couple came for the fireworks and music, and had waited in their car for the rain to let up, Alicia said.


David Hoffman goes to the fireworks every year, but she was new to the event, Alicia said.

In the parking lot, Andrew Baughman waited out the rain with his wife and two children. Monica Baughman perched in the back of the couple's SUV while Payton, 8, and Logan, 5, polished off ice cream cones.

"It's a family thing," Monica Baughman said. The Baughmans, of Hagerstown, have attended the Fairgrounds celebration every year since the event started, she said.

Some were not bothered by the weather.

Cindy Moir and her family pitched a borrowed canopy and picnicked despite the rain.

For three years, it's been a tradition for them to picnic and watch fireworks at Fairgrounds Park, Moir said.

Kathy Haskins walked along with her granddaughters, Destiny and Summer Giffin. All were dressed in bright ponchos, and the girls' grandpa was holding their umbrellas.

Destiny, 5, matched her grandma in a yellow poncho while Summer, 3, wore pink.

She had never been to the fireworks at Fairgrounds Park, but she lives just around the corner and the girls often visit the park, Haskins said.

"We decided to come enjoy the fireworks," she said.

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