Discovery Station fundraiser 'getting bigger every year'
Lillie Stenger of Williamsport tries her luck at a slot machine during the Discovery Station's Sweetheart Casino Big Band Evening held at Hager Hall. (By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer / February 15, 2013)
On Friday night, the octogenarians were among dozens of people who gathered at Hager Hall off Dual Highway to attend the Sweetheart Casino Big Band Evening, a fundraiser for the Discovery Station in downtown Hagerstown.
“I want to contribute to this fundraiser,” Myers said after sharing a dance with Smith. “The museum is educational, and the kids love it.”
Tickets for the event, which featured a jitterbug contest, Ray Birely’s Big Band and a variety of table games, cost $45 per person and $80 for a couple. Money also was raised from a 50-50 drawing and a silent auction.
Phil Kelly, president of the Discovery Station’s Board of Directors, said casino night is one of three annual fundraisers that the organization counts on to help cover operating expenses. The other major fundraisers are HangarFest at Hagerstown Regional Airport and the Discovery Classic Annual Golf Tournament.
Kelly said casino night used to be held at a hotel near Valley Mall, but organizers had to move it to Hager Hall to accommodate growth.
“We’re getting bigger every year,” he said. “We have a few fundraisers a year and this is one of our biggies.”
The Hager Hall banquet room was decked out with a roulette wheel, a craps table, slot machines and several card games. Event-goers also enjoyed a buffet that included roasted turkey and prime rib.
Kelly said the Discovery Station is growing as well. The existing location at 101 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown is running out of room.
He said some exhibits are being kept in hallways and another is in a meeting room. It’s possible, Kelly said, that the museum might have to move to a new site.
“We’re just running out of space,” he said. “That’s one of the issues.”
The Discovery Station is an intergenerational museum with hands-on interactive exhibits featuring science, technology and local history. Some of the exhibits include the history of the C&O Canal and a 15-foot replica of the Titanic.
Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Discovery Station is the only full-time family attraction in downtown Hagerstown.
“It helps bring people to downtown Hagerstown, which has an impact on businesses,” he said. “I think we’re lucky to have it as part of the family of museums in Washington County.”