Washington County businesses and private organizations consolidated their spending power to have one big holiday party Friday night at the Hager Hall Conference and Event Center in Hagerstown.
Cindy Fowler, Hager Hall banquet manager, said the Holiday Bash for Businesses was created three years ago in order that small companies could pool their money to celebrate the holidays in a large venue.
“You can come here and get the big party for the small price,” she said.
Fowler said the bash has more than tripled in size from 30 participants the first year to about 100 this year.
The cost was $40 per person for parties of more than 10 people and $45 per person for smaller groups. Those prices included an open bar for three hours, hors d’oeuvres and a buffet dinner that included beef tips over buttered noodles, marinated baked chicken and seafood au gratin with rice pilaf.
The event was held in two rooms separated by a hallway. One of the rooms had 12 tables for the employees of each business to sit and talk, while food and alcohol were served in the other room.
Michelle Stouffer, director of the Williamsport Hogs motorcycle club, said her organization used to hold its Christmas parties at the American Legion on Northern Avenue in Hagerstown, but events there required too much planning “and not enough people to help.”
She said she heard about the bash at Hager Hall from a local business owner who attended last year.
“Doing something like this is zero work,” Stouffer said. “All you have to do is show up and everything is taken care of.”
Stouffer said 19 of the club’s 100 members attended Friday night’s party.
“We always have fun when we get together,” she said.
Patrick Crist, vice president of marketing at Crist Instruments in Hagerstown, said about 15 employees signed up for the bash.
The company usually alternates venues for its Christmas parties, Crist said, but the chief financial officer heard about the party at Hager Hall and decided to try it out.
He said he believed the event was a good way for small businesses to save money in a sluggish economy.
“It’s a good chance to meet other people,” Crist said. “You never know what kind of business contacts you’ll make.”