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Another great party expected at Hangarfest 2019

Another great party expected at Hangarfest 2019

Hagerstown Regional Airport will be alive with activity on Saturday, Sept. 7, as the Wings and Wheels Expo showcases vintage aircraft and classic vehicles and offers flight experiences throughout the day.

When the expo ends at 4 p.m., more fun will just be getting started as Hangarfest 2019 gears up at the Rider Jet Center. The fundraising event benefitting Discovery Station and Breast Cancer Awareness – Cumberland Valley will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and feature the music of the Jill Fulton Band on an outdoor stage then The Reagan Years inside the center, along with dancing, food, cash bar, 50/50 raffles and tip jars.

Hangarfest chairman Tom Riford said the events have been back to back for several years and it is “a good formula.”

Several years at the event, an airplane would taxi over and park near the hangar.

“A couple of years ago, an A-10 taxied in during (The Reagan Years') concert. The pilot climbed out and I brought him onstage,” Riford said. “He had recently returned from Afghanistan. People were weeping. It was neat.”

New to Hangarfest this year will be the opening concert outdoors with blues, country and soul sounds of the Jill Fulton Band for the first hour and a half; then Hangarfest staple and popular ‘80s tribute band The Reagan Years will hit the stage inside.

Hangarfest chairman Tom Riford said the annual fundraiser Hangarfest at Rider Jet Center is "a great party." (Submitted photo)

“Hangarfest started at the airport terminal and we used to have big bands,” Riford said. “Then we moved it to Rider Jet Center about 10 years ago. We even tried rotating two big bands, then we landed The Reagan Years at least eight years ago. It’s been a very positive trajectory.”

Riford said Hangarfest has grossed more than $300,000 over the years.

Last year, the event sold 1,200 tickets. This year, more than 800 have already been sold as of press time, and an additional 25% typically sell at the door.

“We are on track to eclipse last year’s record, especially since we will have two bands,” Riford said.

Extended hours of entertainment will lead to increased food and cash bar sales, he said.

Between the two acts, there will be a tribute to Dave Rider, a local pilot, developer and philanthropist who supported Hangarfest and passed away in April at 68 years old. Rider built the jet center and six hangars totaling about 150,000 square feet of space. His son Ben Rider now owns and operates the center.

“I think Dave Rider was a shining example of someone who wants to give back to the community,” Riford said. “We want to add value to that and bring people together so the community organizations we are serving can continue to benefit from events like this.”

The Reagan Years (Submitted photo)

On a lighter note, he said, Hangarfest is “a great party.”

“We have 70 big tables and 25 cocktail size. But once The Reagan Years start playing, no one is sitting at the tables. Everyone is on their feet,” he said.

Community-minded sponsors are key to the success of Hangarfest and include Middletown Valley Bank, Emerald Pointe by Paul Crampton Contractors, AC&T, Valley Storage, Henson & Son, JD Holdings, Ellsworth Electric and Wish Kitchens and Baths.

Discovery Station, the original beneficiary of Hangarfest proceeds, is a hands-on, family-friendly museum in Hagerstown.

“It is a wonderful downtown science center that has done so much good over the past 14 years,” Riford said. “It’s bigger and better than ever. They’ve recently added a couple of paid staffers, so a lot of fundraising has to happen. Our sponsors really believe in Discovery Station.”

Breast Cancer Awareness — Cumberland Valley was added as a recipient of proceeds from Hangarfest several years ago.

“The organizations use the funds as they see fit,” Riford said. “Each has priorities it undertakes annually, Discovery Station’s being new exhibits and programming that makes it an even better museum.”

Breast Cancer Awareness – Cumberland Valley supports local breast cancer patients, offering free mammograms to people who are un- or underinsured. It also operates programs to provide free counseling, wigs, protheses, at home assistance for patients and more.

BCA-CV helps people to survive and thrive, Riford said, while Discovery Station helps people to enhance the quality of their lives.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hangarfest 2019
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 7, from 6 to 11 p.m. Jill Fulton Band, 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Reagan Years, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
WHERE: Rider Jet Center, north side of Hagerstown Regional Airport, 18539 Henson Blvd., Hagerstown
COST: Tickets cost $20 per person in advance, $25 per person at the door 
CONTACT: Visit or go to Hangarfest on Facebook

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