Currently viewing the tag: "colorfest"

Camp David

by Ann Marie Bezayiff

After spending the day in Thurmont during the Colorfest Celebration, I was driving home along 550 and noticed a “Do Not Enter, Local Traffic Only” sign, where the Foxville-Deerfield Road meets Rte. 550. Later, I heard a rumor that Vice President Biden was at Camp David. Therefore, Foxville-Deerfield Road was off limits.

For us novices to the area, Camp David is a mysterious and curious place, so I did a little research on,, and Located 62-64 miles from Washington D.C., it is situated on 200 acres in the Catoctin Mountains, near Thurmont. The Camp David Accords and the 38th G8 Summit brought world leaders together in this place. Strange to think that some of the most powerful people in the world gather together to talk, negotiate, or relax in our backyard. In reality, they’ve been part of the neighborhood since the middle 1800s.

Located 1,800 feet above sea level, the area became a respite from the humid summers of Washington D.C. Dignitaries, ambassadors, and federal personnel spent summers in near-by Cascade and enjoyed visiting Pen Mar and the surrounding area. President Herbert Hoover first visited what is now known as Camp David when his secretary, Larry Ritchie, bought acreage in the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont.

In 1935, the Works Projects Administration (WPA) began building the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area Project near Thurmont, the same area that Hoover had visited. It was built as a demonstration site, an example of how to create parks from over-worked farmland. Completed in 1938, it was named Hi-Catoctin and became a summer camp for federal agents and their families. The property housed several small cabins, a dining hall and a swimming pool.

In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt, during a three-day visit, decided to convert the camp into a presidential retreat. He named it Shangri-La for the fictional Himalayan paradise in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. He sent instructions for remodeling the lodges and asked for the construction of a main lodge, which resembled the Roosevelt home in Warm Springs, Georgia. Once constructed, the lodge was named “The Bear’s Den.”

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed Shangri-La Camp David in honor of his father and grandson. Today, it is officially known as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, and considered a military instillation. It is staffed by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.

As in the past, Presidents and their staffs are still a part of the scenery. Local residents share family stories of a waving Churchill, as his car made its way to Camp David. There are numerous stories of lunches and teas at the Cozy Inn in downtown Thurmont, where presidents and their first ladies often visited. Dignitaries from around the world, White House staff members, news commentators, and officials have been common visitors to the Thurmont area. Eisenhower’s grandson, David, and his wife, Tricia Nixon, spent their honeymoon at Camp David. Gerald Ford rode his snowmobile in the area. President Carter could be found fishing in the local streams. George W. Bush’s daughter was married at Camp David in 1992. Clinton played golf at the nearby Maple Run Golf Club. Each president has his own story to tell of his experiences at Camp David.

Through the ‘50s and ‘80s, the local young girls often dated the guards and military personnel stationed at Camp David. At that time, visitors and residents could drive to the entrance and even visit the camp with an escort. From those in the know, I’ve heard the best view for July 4th Fireworks is near High Rock on the Camp David grounds. Helicopters carry the dignitaries today. You can see and hear them overhead, and you probably think, “That must be the president going to Camp David.”

Now, when I stop where the Foxville-Deerfield meets Rte. 550, I look past the railroad tracks and toward the mountains, looking for signs of visitors from Washington. Perhaps I’ll have my own Camp David Story to share someday.

image001The Catoctin Area Civitan Club is selling White House Christmas ornaments (shown right)to raise funds for local developmentally disabled children and adults. The White House Historical Association began issuing an annual collectible ornament in 1981. The 2013 ornaments are available early this year. The Civitan Club is selling them for $22.00. The ornaments can be purchased at the Thurmont Eye Care Center, PNC Bank, or from any Civitan member. Ornaments will also be available in front of the PNC Bank during the Colorfest activities.

For details, visit their Facebook page at or our website at

By Chelsea Gorka

Every year in October, the Catoctin region springs to life with the bustle of people visiting from near and far. This year was the 49th year of the Annual Catoctin Colorfest in downtown Thurmont. With a turnout of thousands and thousands of people, Colorfest is an example of how what initially started as a small nature walk in 1963 can evolve into a nationally recognized juried arts and craft show almost fifty years later.

Officially starting at 9:00 a.m. on October 9, 2012, people were trying to get a look at all the crafts as early as 7:30 a.m. that morning. Vendors from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, as well as several other states came into town to offer their merchandise. With unique treasures at every tent, it is a thrill to try to find the most unique wares and best deals each year. Upon entering the Thurmont Town Park, the smell of the “oh-so-good” festival food wafted into our airways. Fried snickers, apple dumplings, French fries, and crab cakes tempted even the most stoic of tastes. Walking past the food vendors into the actual park presented new temptations as a worldly array of crafts beckoned. From American Doll clothing and painted art to handmade wooden carvings and toys, there was something for every visitor to enjoy. 

Vendors selling Christmas décor seemed to be a favorite among the crowd this year. One couldn’t help but notice the amazing dance performances in the middle of the park, as large crowds gathered around the makeshift stage. Locals walking through the immense crowd stumbled upon friends and neighbors among swarms of visiting strangers.

Trying to make your way through the crowd on Saturday was a tad tricky. With dogs, strollers, and portable shopping carts attached to what seemed like every moving body, the streets filled up very quickly. Thankfully, we were blessed with a beautiful weekend, with the sun shining and the crisp air keeping all the visitors motivated to stay warm by moving forward.

During Colorfest, Deer Field United Methodist Church had a really awesome idea this year: when you paid their fee for parking, they gave you a coupon for $2.00 off at their food stand.

Of the two days, Sunday seemed to be the day to be out and about. The crowds had died down a bit, and the experience had a more relaxed feeling to it, allowing you to stop and look at each vendor without having to dodge hips and elbows at each counter.

Many people, even some local citizens, may not have realized that Colorfest, Inc. was not the only festival taking place in our area during the weekend of October 13 and 14, 2012. New this year was the Fall Fest at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds, hosted by the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company. Amish-made furniture, along with jewelry stands, set up in convenient rows, occupied parents and adults. An enormous slide and a merry-go-round called out to the younger patrons. Friendly faces—both human and K-9—were quite content and observant, taking in all the tables and knick-knacks.  Sweet kettle corn scented the air and the essence of the fall season was in full effect.

Down the road in Rocky Ridge, a smaller and more relaxed atmosphere entertained those at Ridge Fest.  Quaint set-ups with various odds and ends lined the tables under the pavilion in Mt. Tabor Park. Children lined up to slide down the infamous wooden slide, where they whirled down over and over again, grinning from ear to ear.  Apple butter is a staple of this small-town festival.

Finally, at Sabillasville Elementary School, just up Route 550 from Thurmont, Mountain Fest and their annual Car Show was a popular stop for fun. What started as a quiet country get-together has grown into a large gathering of several hundred people. Featuring a bouncy house for the kids, the atmosphere was very family-orientated. When you walked into Sabillasville Elementary School, the wafting smell of fresh-baked bread, pies, and muffins surrounded you, and you knew the church bake sale was under way. The Car Show featured different models and year makes, varying from Model Ts to 2012 Mustangs. Coming in all colors, shapes, makes, models, and years, there was a car there for everyone to admire. Horse rides and an Emu petting zoo made the trip interesting for all ages, along with a live band and much-loved ice cream!

If you missed any of these exciting and bustling festivals this year, don’t worry! They come around every year. Mark your calendars for next October, and be sure to set aside a bit of extra spending money for shopping, for great food, and for just plain fun!

Emmitsburg, August 2012

Emmitsburg Pool News

Yes, at last, the Splash Pool installation has been promised for the summer of 2013. The Splash structure will have a mushroom type sprinkler, with six spray hoses. Kids will get to enjoy the new installation, which will be located where the old baby pool stood. Mayor Briggs has committed to having at least three Pool Parties in 2013.

Another discussion surrounding the Emmitsburg Pool is the consideration for allowing an advertising board for businesses. A board would be posted inside the pool area. Names and phone numbers of businesses could be available for pool patrons to view. Funds from the sale of the advertisements would help pay pool expenses.

Park & Ride Discussion

A possible future Park & Ride for carpoolers was discussed at the town hall. A good location in Emmitsburg would need to be found for cars to park close to Route 15. The request for a Park and Ride would have to be coordinated with the State of Maryland.

Pippenfest in Fairfield

The Annual Pippenfest will happen in our backyard in the town hall reports by Michele Cuseo town of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, on September 29 and 30. Yards sales throughout the town are allowed all day on Saturday, with Arts & Crafts booths set up on Sunday. Pippenfest celebrates the Pippen apple that once grew in the area and was very popular. To celebrate the history of the pippen apple, there will be apple cooking contests at the festival, music, food, entertainment, and an antique car show. To find out more about Pippenfest and information about participating, call the Fairfield Town Office at 717-642-5640.

For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, log onto

Thurmont, August 2012

Town Water Rates to Increase

Thurmont suffered a $35,000 shortage in their water service budget. To balance the budget Commissioners voted to increase water fees. The fairest cost for all residents was agreed to be keeping the rate of $60 per residential property and then increasing costs by usage. There will be five-tiered levels of usage with each tier increasing by 50 cents per tier. The increase will be effective with the 3rd quarter bills.

Reporting Crime Tip Line

Thurmont residents can report local crimes by calling a tip line at 301-271-0905. Thurmont Police say that callers are allowed to remain anonymous if they choose.

Information on a crime has to be specific when reported. There is a possible cash reward of up to $1,000 associated with an outcome of an arrest and conviction of a criminal.


The annual Colorfest event will soon be here again. The dates this year are Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. Thurmont town citizens desiring to set up a yard sale or a crafts sale on Colorfest weekend need to contact the town office for a permit.

The Colorfest, Inc. organization helps financially support local organizations and programs, including the Food Bank, the Guardian Hose Co., Thurmont Ambulance, College Scholarship programs, the annual children’s Halloween Party, and many more. To find out more about the Colorfest, log on to

View the Town of Thurmont’s website at or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.