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18th annual Augustoberfest in downtown Hagerstown 'a nice family event'

August 24, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com
  • Adam Levine leads "The Happy Wanderer March" with his button accordion Saturday at Augustoberfest celebration in City Center Hagerstown.
By Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photgrapher

German beer flowed and lilting Bavarian music filled the air Saturday at the 18th annual Augustoberfest in downtown Hagerstown.

The two-day festival, which concludes Sunday, celebrates the city’s German roots and supports scholarships for exchange students to visit Hagerstown’s sister city in Wesel, Germany.

Jill Colbert, chairwoman of the event, said more than 3,500 people were expected to attend the festival to experience a variety of music and dances, authentic German food such as bratwurst, and beer.

“I think the high point is just watching the number of people come through the tent and to see year after year, we see not only just families, but we have small children, teenagers coming to young adults in their 20s and 30s ... so it is a great all-over family event,” Colbert said.

Karen Giffin, community affairs manager for the city of Hagerstown, said people come to the festival from states such as Ohio and New York, as well as the many local residents who look forward to the event.

“It helps simultaneously to teach people about our German culture and have a great event,” Giffin said.

The people who come to the event boost the local economy as they spend money downtown and stay in area hotels, she said.

“It is a community-pride event as well,” she said. “We have an expanded vendor area and we have an expanded children’s area.”

Another new feature, Giffin said, is a German car show that will be held Sunday.

Jason Burns of Charles Town, W.Va., said this was his second year attending Augustoberfest, and “I absolutely love it.”

“I am meeting great people and having a great time,” he said.

Tim and Lisa McSherry, owners at Hagerstown’s Carpet Gallery, one of the sponsors of the event, said the festival was a great way to advertise the city.

“I love the polka music. I love the beer,” Tim McSherry said.

He said he liked the big white tent under which most of the festival is held.

“You can get everybody under it, and it keeps everybody cool and you are all in the same environment,” Tim McSherry said. “You got kids here. So it is not only about the beer.”

Lisa McSherry, who is of German descent, said the festival allowed her to embrace her heritage.

“Everybody is so laid back,” she said. “It is such a nice family event.”

Rodney and Theresa Reichard of Chambersburg, Pa., were wearing what they said were traditional German vests.

“We met very nice people,” Rodney Reichard said. “We have met people we can probably connect with.”

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If you go ...

What: Augustoberfest
When: Today, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Hagerstown Central Parking Lot, off North Potomac Street, downtown Hagerstown

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