Autumn Arts Festival a blend of tradition and the unexpected

September 18, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • Phil Muritz drives his antique Ford tractor Saturday to haul a hay wagon taxi for the Autumn Arts Festival at City Park in Hagerstown.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Although fall officially is a few days away, the season got an early start Saturday with the annual Autumn Arts Festival at City Park.

But this year, expect the unexpected.

In addition to the traditional arts and crafts displays, visitors can enjoy Japanese art activities, dance performances and the sounds of jazz.

It's all part of a unique two-day, family-oriented celebration that encompasses the entire park.

More than 6,500 people are expected to attend the festival, which continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Activities are offered at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Mansion House Art Gallery, Jonathan Hager House and Museum, Hagerstown Railroad Museum and Peter Buys Band Shell.

According to organizers, this is the fourth year for the festival, which replaces the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Family Summer Arts Festival and Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days, once regarded as the city's longest-running craft show.


Visitors to the grounds of the Jonathan Hager House on Saturday found craft and food vendors, as well as a French and Indian War encampment.

Mea Clift was among the re-enactors who mingled with festival-goers.

Clift, who represented re-enactors from Friends of Fort Frederick, portrayed a British surgeon.

With a table filled with early medical devices, Clift said there is a lot of curiosity about how patients were treated for everything from arrow wounds to dental problems.

"An event such as this gives us an opportunity to give people a glimpse into the past," she said. "We try to answer questions and also dispel myths. For instance, giving a person whiskey during surgery is a myth. Alcohol thins the blood and would have caused even more bleeding."

At the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, children tried their hand at fish printing, Origami, koi kites and Cherry Blossom collage, which were offered in conjunction with the current interactive exhibition "Konnichiwa! Japanese Culture & Ukiyo-e."

In addition to crafts, a scavenger hunt, balloon sculptors and dance and theater workshops also are being offered, museum educator Amy Hunt said.

A ticketed recital featuring acclaimed pianist Tianshu Wang will be featured Sunday at 2:30 p.m., she said.

Hunt said children's art activities will move Sunday to the Mansion House, as well as art demonstrations on the porch and music by cellist Mia Hoover.

Restored Locomotive 202 at the Hagerstown Railroad Museum was attracting a crowd Saturday and will be open again Sunday for tours. There also are model railroad and signal displays and rides on Thomas the Trackless Train.

Music, dance and theater performances are being offered at the Peter Buys Band Shell.

The festival also features pony rides, a petting zoo and hay ride shuttles to each venue.

Admission and parking are free.

If you go

What: Fourth annual Autumn Arts Festival at City Park

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: City Park, Hagerstown

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