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Thousands treated to fireworks at Fairgrounds Park

July 04, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Thousands were treated to a Fourth of July fireworks display at Fairgrounds Park Thursday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The City of Hagerstown’s Fourth of July celebration at Fairgrounds Park began Thursday night with two bands, food, games for kids and plenty of guests.

City officials estimate 15,000 to 20,000 people showed up the park for the festivities, which included a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show that included nearly 16,000 shells.

The fireworks were stopped for roughly 10 minutes at about 9:50 p.m. as police responded to a fight between teenagers near a concession stand, according to Lt. Paul Kifer of the Hagerstown Police Department.

The fight ended quickly and police made several arrests, Kifer said.

People flooded the park and vehicles entering the parking lots slowed to a crawl as officials directed them to the remaining parking spaces. After about 7 p.m., vehicles were being directed through the parking areas and to the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex for parking.

People living near the park along streets like Cleveland Avenue set up seating areas in their yards as they waited for the fireworks show.

The 12th annual Fireworks at Fairgrounds Park began with a 6 p.m. opening ceremony that included remarks by Lou Scally, Hagerstown City Council members Lewis C. Metzner and Don Munson, and a benediction by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

Bands including C Smash and the Teddy Boys entertained the crowd, and people relaxed in the wide-open area in front of the stage in the middle of the park.

“We just watch the weather,” said Karen Giffin, Hagerstown’s community affairs manager.

Giffin said city officials received word before the fireworks show that conditions were to remain clear for the display.

About 20 Hagerstown Police officers were patrolling the park on foot, motorcycles and bikes. Early in the evening, Hagerstown Police Chief Mark Holtzman said there had been no problems other than two children who were reported missing.

They were later found, Holtzman said.

Holtzman praised the police department’s auxiliary police force, which directed traffic into the park, and union and management members of the Hagerstown Police Department who were away from their families Thursday night so they could provide security during the event.

“They didn’t have to be ordered, they just signed up,” Holtzman said.

Michael Shoop of Big Pool was rocking his nearly 1-year-old daughter Haeleigh back and forth in a buggy under a pavilion.

Shoop said he has been attending the event for the last few years.

“It’s a real nice relaxing day,” Shoop said.

At a nearby table in the pavilion, Jill Wilkins of Hagerstown was spending time with four of her children. They were among a group playing with games provided by the city.

“It’s good for the kids,” Wilkins said.

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