The Holidays Come Early for "Christmas in July"

- HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Christmas came early to one park in Western Maryland on Saturday, as kids and families anxiously waited in line to join in on the festivities.

Hagerstown's Parks and Recreation Department held their first "Christmas in July" event at the Railroad Museum in City Park Saturday afternoon.

Amy Riley, the recreation coordinator for the city of Hagerstown who also organized the event, told us, "We're trying to increase awareness and visitation of our City Park Train Museum. A lot of folks don't know it's back here, we're learning. That it's tucked behind City Park. We have a lot of amenities back here with our caboose displays and our museum. So we planned this 'Christmas in July' event so we could just have a fun-themed event so that people could come and see what we have to offer."

The event is part of the park's 2014 outdoor movie series, and the idea for a Christmas theme came from the decision to show the film "The Polar Express," at the museum just after sundown Saturday evening.

"We've been doing a lot of outdoor movie series at different locations this summer. We've had one at the Potterfield Pool, the City Park Bandshell, but we thought the train museum would be a unique atmosphere with the 202 engine being the backdrop to the movie screen tonight, So we kind of tied it all togheter for a 'Christmas in July' with various activities," said Amy.

Daytime activities included interactive cabooses on display, face painting, balloon sculptures, model train displays, and even a Thomas the Tractor train ride.

When asked about the event's success, Jason Moore, a model train attendant for the railroad museum said, "We were expecting a turnout, but nothing near what we had. As soon as it hit 6 o'clock

and we opened and everything, they were lined up at least a half hour before. I don't know exactly what the numbers are, but it's probably been at least two to three-hundred people, I guess, that have been through here since 6 o'clock when we opened."

"Christmas in July" as well as the Outdoor Movie Series are all part of Hagerstown City Park's celebration of Parks and Recreation Month.

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