Fairgrounds Park event features magic number of fireworks

July 04, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |
  • People watch as fireworks light the sky over Fairgrounds Park Monday night.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Fifteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six.

That’s how many fireworks shells were set to explode Monday over Hagerstown from Fairgrounds Park.

“People always ask why don’t we make it an even 16,000,” city Community Affairs Manager Karen Giffin said. “We don’t because people remember 15,996.”

The city of Hagerstown held its 10th annual Fireworks at Fairgrounds Park Monday.

Giffin estimated that 20,000 people would descend on the park by 9:30 p.m., when the fireworks show was set to begin.

By 5:30 p.m., hundreds already had arrived.

Dozens of blankets and lawn chairs were scattered throughout the park as spectators staked their claim to prime seating for the music and the fireworks show.

Children played with flying discs and other games while vendors sold everything from funnel cakes to icy treats.

In celebration of the event’s 10th anniversary, Giffin said the city booked 1950s and ’60s band Bill Haley’s Comets, and featured special guest Demetri Callas.

Barb and Stephen Bierly of Hagerstown came early to listen to the music.

It is something they look forward to doing each year, Barb Bierly said.

“It is a relaxing time,” Stephen Bierly said. “We like to come and enjoy it.”

A cloudy sky threatened to rain on the event, but Giffin said around 6:30 p.m. that organizers were hearing that the storms were dissipating.

Despite their optimism, the sky opened up over Hagerstown around 8 p.m.

Giffin said that in 10 years, the city never has had to postpone the fireworks because of rain, and that did not change Monday.

The fireworks ignited the sky as scheduled.

In past years, the fireworks show started early or late because of weather, she said.

For a local event, Fireworks at Fairgrounds Park is “pretty good,” said Jeff Rosbash of Hagerstown.

“I like the fact that every year, they do one different firework,” he said. “It’s a decent 20-minute show.”

Having attended much larger July Fourth events with as many as 250,000 people, Rosbash said, even the years when the crowd swells at Fairgrounds Park, it still is a good size.

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