A Jubilee Days parade progresses through downtown Hagerstown. File photo

One traditional Hagerstown summer event is on hiatus while another is rebuilding, and a Christmas event is expanding to include a lighted parade. Council also approved a water rate increase to help repair aging lines.


During their June 3 meeting, council learned that Nettle Creek Players won’t offer its summer tent shows but hopes to raise enough funds to return in 2025. 

Organizers were still trying to secure insurance for Jubilee Days. A group of volunteers stepped up to keep the festival going because service organizations with declining membership no longer can lead it.

Jeremy Jennings said organizers want a parade and as many traditional events as possible. He asked the town to allow a standing committee to be formed to help secure event insurance. However, town officials encouraged Jubilee Days volunteers to purchase insurance through one of the organizations previously involved.

Councilor Donnie Benedict said the issue runs deeper than insurance, and a foundation needs to be laid for the future. However, Jennings said time is running out to keep the festival alive this year, and it would be ideal for organization representatives to join 2025 planning. 

Jennings said he would keep council updated.

Jubilee Days is now Aug. 2-3, before school opens. Streets will close from 8 a.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Sunday. Main Street will close just for the parade. 

Meanwhile, Michelle Houghton requested permission for Hometown Christmas to offer a nighttime parade on Dec. 7 along with the bazaar, spaghetti supper, handbell choir, tree lighting and Santa/Mrs. Claus appearance.

Police Chief Keith Folkner said it would cost HPD approximately $1,000 for overtime to close streets for the holiday parade, which wasn’t in his budget. He said another fall parade is being discussed, which would mean five parades in 2024 (with eclipse, graduation, Jubilee and Christmas).  

Councilor Brian Longbons said increasing activities that bring residents together is a goal of Hagerstown’s comprehensive plan. 

Fire Chief Rick Cole said events can draw in visitors to spend money. Longbons said Hagerstown became known for well-organized eclipse events that hopefully will help inspire return guests. 

Longbons said that the $1,000 in overtime could come from the plan commission’s funds and parades could be factored into the 2025 police budget.    

“All towns are noted for something — maybe we’re going to become the town of parades,” Longbons said. 

Council unanimously approved the lighted Christmas parade. 

Water rates

No one spoke during a public hearing related to a water bill increase needed to address old water line issues.

Council unanimously approved the increase in rates and charges.  

Many of the town’s water lines are at least 75 years old and frequently break. Town employees have limited time and equipment to make repairs, and contractors are more expensive. 

Council suspended a more expensive planned electric rate increase in favor of water. 

Councilors said costs of new lines on Main Street are being recouped since no repairs are needed.  

As of June 3, Hagerstown planned to apply for a $700,000 Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant and a state loan of approximately $2 million for the work. The town would provide a match from American Rescue Plan Act funds initially estimated at $66,000.  

However, council then conducted a special meeting June 20 to approve a larger budget for the project before submitting the OCRA application to cover higher costs for inspecting pipes for lead. The project’s cost is now $3,325,681.

Council’s next public meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 1, in town hall, 49 E. College St.  

Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the June 26 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.