Thousands enjoy music, food, fun, fireworks at Fairgrounds Park

July 05, 2010|By DON AINES
  • Mary Lou and The Untouchables perform Sunday during Independence Day festivities at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Under an uninterrupted sun and cloudless sky, canopies sprang up above the crunching brown grass Sunday as vendors and early birds set up for the Fourth of July fireworks at Fairgrounds Park.

By 5 p.m., as the pace of people entering the park began to pick up, the temperature was 96 degrees, but several families had been set up for hours.

"This is the best thing Hagerstown does for free," said Donna Thompson, who was with a couple dozen family members under four canopies. "We've been coming here at least six years."

The family members ranged from 3-year-old Haley Thompson to 78-year-old William Thompson. They were beating the heat by staying under cover, and keeping plenty of cold water and sodas on hand. Occasionally a light breeze brought some extra relief.

Dolly Woodcock and James Smith sat at a table under two trees on a landscaped island in the parking lot, grabbing some of the limited natural shade and playing a game.


"We came prepared" with games, food and cold drinks, Woodcock said.

Most people like holidays, while others make their living by them.

Jeff Southard was set up to sell snow cones and other treats to the thousands who showed up for the 6 p.m. concert by Mary Lou and The Untouchables and the 9:30 p.m. fireworks.

"This is the first year we've been here. We're going to start coming every year," said Southard, who bought the mobile vending business with his brother Charles from their grandfather. "We can't count on this for full-time money right now ... That's what we're shooting for," he said.

It was the first year for Maugansville Creamery to participate, as well. Bob and Trish Holsinger bought the business a year ago and plan to take it on the road more often.

"It's great ice cream weather," Trish Holsinger said.

Bob Holsinger said selling ice cream has a social aspect not found in their other business, Holsinger's Meat Market.

"It's almost more of an entertainment business than a food business," he said.

By 8:30 p.m. lines were running to 40 or more people at some food stands and the temperature had fallen into the 80s.

The Hagerstown Lions Club made its first foray to Fairgrounds Park for the Fourth, selling hot dogs, burgers, ham sandwiches and fries. Eight people volunteered to set up the stand and 10 signed on to run it, Andy Hoffman said.

Chris Stockslager helped set up, but was going later to City Park to play tuba in the Hagerstown Municipal Band's concert.

The Lions were up against the veterans from the South Hagerstown High School Band Boosters, who were also selling "your basic American fare," said President Laura Horning.

"This is probably our second biggest. The Mummers Parade is our biggest fundraiser," Horning said. "It's a long day ... but at least it's not raining," she said.

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