Autumn Arts Festival in Hagerstown has something for everyone

September 17, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Hagerstown artist Todd Groesbeck paints "The Carnival Prophet" outside the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Saturday during the fifth annual Autumn Arts Festival at City Park in Hagerstown.
By Roxann Miller

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — If you couldn't find something to do Saturday at the fifth annual Autumn Arts Festival in Hagerstown, then you weren't looking hard enough.

Ben and Sarah Hammaker of Halfway brought their daughter, Claire, 3, and son, Lennon, 1 to the festival. They came so Claire could enjoy the pony rides, and ended up communing with nature at the park in search of an elusive cricket.

Try as they might, Ben, Claire and Lennon couldn't track down the cricket, but they didn't leave empty-handed.

Claire walked away with a complimentary bag of goodies filled with pencils, a notepad, a bracelet and more.

"We like to come because it's something to bring the kids to," Sarah Hammaker said. "It's good family fun."

Pony rides, live music, art exhibits, children's crafts, balloon sculptors and craft vendors are just a few of the things to keep entertainment-seekers busy all day long.

The two-day festival at City Park continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rhonda Way of Hagerstown comes to the festival every year.

"I got a little house for candles and a little snowman," she said. "I love Halloween, and I love Christmas."

She liked the festival so much, she said she is coming back — without her children — today.

"I'll have dad keep them so I can look," Way said.

It was a bonding day for Terri Hollingshead of Gapland and her daughter Katie Linton.

"I like to watch the crafters make their stuff, and you know it's homemade," said Hollingshead, who bought a Christmas gift for her mother at the festival.

One of the highlights of the festival was the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

"It's very, very unusual for a community this size, in a rural area, to have an internationally recognized fine arts museum, and we have our own permanent collection that's very high caliber," museum educator Amy Hunt said.

Exposing their children to art is important to Matthew and Jennifer Nickels of Greencastle, Pa.

They brought their children, Addison, 3, and Norah, 1, to the museum.

"It's important to let them grow up around art and creativity and really blossom their imagination," Jennifer Nickels said.

"I think it's important, in childhood, to express that so whenever you're older, you still have that little bit of childhood," Matthew Nickels said. "It never goes away."


If you go

What: Autumn Arts Festival

When: Today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: City Park, Hagerstown

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