20th Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memoria Illumination Named Top 100 Event in North Americal

20th Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination Named Top 100 Event in North America

(Hagerstown, MD)- The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is chartering two buses on December 6, 2008, for the 20th Annual Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield. One hundred tickets will be sold for anyone interested in taking a guided bus tour of the event.
"The Antietam Illumination is awe-inspiring. This is a definite must-see event, which is very popular with visitors and residents alike," said CVB President Tom Riford. "We are excited about chartering buses and offering special guided tours of the event. This should be a great trip, and one of the best parts is the opportunity to avoid having to wait in the long line of traffic to get into the battlefield." Riford added. The specially-chartered buses will be brought to the front of the entrance area, according to the organizers of the Illumination.
Charissa Stanton, the CVB's Public Relations Specialist, and Betsy De Vore, Director of Sales for the CVB, will be the tour guides for the evening. They will share a collection of quotes from soldiers and civilians about the 1862 Battle of Antietam, as well as a complete overview of the Civil War battle.
Last year was the first time the CVB offered guided bus tours of the illumination. The initial plans in 2007 were to charter one bus to see if there was any interest from the public. The CVB ended up chartering a second bus because of the popularity.
"Both buses were filled to capacity and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely," said De Vore. "It quickly became clear that this was something we should offer every year." Several people from outside of Washington County participated last year, including United States Senator John W. Warner's family and members of the management team of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.
A new addition for the CVB bus tours this year is that everyone who purchases a ticket will receive a special candle. The candle is one of the "Antietam" candles, manufactured by the A.E. Root Candle Company specifically for the Antietam Illumination because of its long-burning capability.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau has also announced that along with being the main financial sponsor of the annual illumination, that the American Bus Association (ABA) has designated the Antietam Illumination as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2008. "To have this event be selected as among the best 100 events in North America is a feather in the cap for Washington County," said Tom Riford. The Illumination was selected by an elite tourism industry committee. Inclusion in the Top 100 list, published as a supplement to the September/October issue of Destinations Magazine, indicates that the Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.
"The annual Illumination is absolutely breathtaking," Stanton said. "There is no better way to see it than from the elevated windows of a comfortable bus!" Stanton said that the view from the bus last year was better than she had seen in years' past from a car.
Since 1989 an annual remembrance of the battle of Antietam has been held the first Saturday in December. It is signified by 23,110 luminaries, one placed every 15 feet along a 5 mile route, throughout the fields, and around monuments. More than 1,300 volunteers from throughout the nation come to Antietam, and systematically set up the luminaries throughout the day, and candles are lit starting at 3 p.m. According to the National Park Service, more than 25,000 people experience the Illumination, from 6 p.m. until midnight. Cars wait at the Route 34 entrance, and travel the route with headlights turned off.
Tickets for the CVB charter buses will be available from the Visitor Welcome Center at 6 North Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown starting Monday November 3. The cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children under the age of 12. On the night of December 6, refreshments will be served at the Welcome Center starting at 5:15 p.m. and the bus will depart promptly at 6:00 p.m. In case of inclement weather, refunds will be issued. For more information call 301-791-3246.
To find out more about Hagerstown-Washington County, go to www.marylandmemories.com. For more information about the Annual Memorial Illumination, visit www.nps.gov/anti/planyourvisit/luminary.htm.
The 20th Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination is presented by the American Business Women's Association, Antietam National Battlefield, and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

This information was provided by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau - www.marylandmemories.com