As in year’s past, the metamorphosis began slowly early in the week. With steady deliveries of port-o-potties, new tents being constructed, and signs going up around town, the temporary makeover was gradually taking shape. By the morning of October 8, 2016, the conversion was complete. Thurmont’s quaint and quiet Community Park, and surrounding areas, were recreated into a bustling hub of fun and festivities, as residents, vendors, and guests celebrated the 53rd Annual Catoctin Colorfest.
This year’s Colorfest took place on October 8 and 9. It was a rainy, dreary day on Saturday, but the overall mood of crafters, vendors, presenters, and visitors could not be dampened. With talk of Hurricane Matthew in the air, vendors and visitors alike happily ventured out on Saturday looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Suited up with umbrellas, raincoats, and boots, friends and guests visited Thurmont’s Community Park on Frederick Road and surrounding areas to find delicious treats, creative crafts, and unique, one-of-a-kind finds, and they were not disappointed.
Carol Robertson, Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., president, was very pleased with the turnout. “The crowd has been steady and all the vendors have been very happy. In spite of the weather, everyone who has been coming out is in a good mood and wants to be here,” Robertson added.
The crowds on Saturday seemed a little less than years past due to the weather, but everyone was very happy to be there despite the rain. Penny Jurchak, organizer and volunteer of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Anthony’s Shrine’s Crab and Sausage Stand, agreed. “Business is good. We have been constant probably because we have a pavilion, but also because our food is awesome and we have great volunteers!” Jurchak stated. In spite of the rain, sales seemed to be steady as pleased Colorfest visitors filled their tummies with delicious treats and their carts and wagons with their prized purchases wrapped in bags to protect from the weather.
On Sunday, Thurmont saw the return of the sun and the cheerful and excited crowds. Vendors were happy to visit with returning customers, some of whom have been loyal patrons for years, and meet new ones. “Every year, people come to the Colorfest…year after year. It is always fun to get reacquainted with those individuals. They are usually the first customers,” stated Robertson. Organizers of the Colorfest were happy to see many returning vendors, as well as several new faces. Many vendors have been very happy with the turnout, friendly customers, and inviting community that the Colorfest offers. “As soon as the show is over, vendors turn in their applications for next year!” Robertson added.
More than 200 hand crafters were located within the community park area. Additionally, there were several vendor demonstrations such as broom-making and decorative candle-designing. The Colorfest committee worked year-round to make the event a success; while the Town of Thurmont worked hard to help facilitate the event. “We appreciate the support from the town and the guys with Parks and Electric. They are all terrific!” stated Robertson. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird was happy to be among those helping out and in attendance. “It was an amazing weekend. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and we enjoyed having them here,” Kinnaird enthusiastically stated.
Originally started in 1963 as a nature walk, the Colorfest has grown immensely from its humble beginnings and historically has been a very popular event, with vendors and visitors from near and far attending. It has become one of the largest arts and crafts festivals on the east coast. Attendance has been noted to reach well over 100,000 earning the event quite a favorable reputation. In 2005, Sunshine Artists Magazine named the Catoctin Colorfest as one of the top 35 arts and crafts shows in the United States.
Photos by Anita DiGregory
(above) Carol Robertson stands outside her booth at Colorfest on Saturday.
Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird gives a “thumbs up” at Colorfest on Sunday, sitting on his “Think Pink” mobile.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Anthony Shrine’s Crab and Sausage stand organizer and volunteer, Penny Jurchak (right)is shown with her granddaughter, Harley Ruttinger.