Currently viewing the tag: "community Park"

Anita DiGregory

colorfest-photo-by-georgiAs 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.

by Theresa Dardanell

Emmitsburg Public Works Department

Before I met with the Director of the Emmitsburg Public Works Department, James Click, I thought I knew all of the responsibilities of the department. I was amazed at what I didn’t know.

According to the website, the public works department “consists of the following public services: water and sewer, streets, lights, maintenance to all parks and recreation facilities, and snow removal, as well as operating the yard waste and recycling site.”

That might not sound like a lot until you find out more. One example is “streets,” which includes keeping streets clean, repairing and replacing street lights, painting crosswalks and curbs, repairing and replacing signs, trimming trees, and putting up banners and flags for holidays and events. There are 12 miles of roads/streets and 350 street lights in Emmitsburg.

“Parks and Recreation facilities” consists of the Community Park, Memorial Park, Silo Hill, and Emmit Gardens—a total of 70 acres of parkland. Some of the work at these locations includes mowing; weed killing; and maintenance of playground equipment, pavilions, picnic tables, ball field fences, and restroom buildings.

“Water and sewer” includes reading, repairing, and replacing water meters; repairing water leaks and sewer backups; and staffing the wastewater treatment plant and monitoring it every day, around the clock. There are 7 miles of sewer pipe, 10 miles of water pipe, and 133 fire hydrants in town.

In 2005, James Click combined the Department of Public Works and the Water/Sewer Department so that the employees could work together as a team for a more efficient operation. There are only eight employees to handle all of the jobs in both departments.  Along with James Click, the Public Works department members are: Steve Fissel, Building Maintenance; Dave Wantz, Public Works; Chris Wantz, Public Works. The Water/Sewer Department members are: Dan Fissel, Water and Sewer Superintendent; Wayne Sharrer, Senior Operator; Matthew Desmond, Lead Operator; Jacob Fisher, Operator. The town benefits from this working relationship; when snow removal requires additional help, the crew works together to get the job done as quickly as possible. They also take turns working at the yard waste and recycling drop-off center at the wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road; this service is available to residents all year on the first and third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Because they share the responsibilities, members of the crew need to know how to operate the many different vehicles in the fleet, as well as how to use all the various equipment. Along with the 4×4 trucks, there are trucks for plowing, salting, and hauling; a sludge truck for cleaning sewer lines and septic tanks; a backhoe; a pull-behind trailer lift; several mowers; as well as other equipment.

According to James Click, the members of the crew enjoy their work and want to do a good job for the community. “We look out for the townspeople whatever they may need.  That’s the biggest thing.”


Emmitsburg Public Works Department crew: Chris Wantz, Dave Wantz, James Click, and Steve Fissel.

The 53rd Annual Catoctin Colorfest will take place on October 8 and 9 in the Thurmont Community Park. Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. President Carol Robertson said, “It’s like a city within the town for the weekend, with ATMs, a Post Office, restaurants, and shops.” For the past fourteen years, a mobile unit of the Thurmont U.S. Post Office has been manned during Colorfest by Thurmont Post Office staff who ship out packages for visitors. Carol Robertson designed a commemorative postal cancellation stamp with a Colorfest theme that will be used to postmark the packages processed over the weekend.

There will be more vendor areas within the Community Park this year, with vendors totaling 238. The Thurmont Regional Library will host a Big Bubbles show at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, and the Linda Elower School of Dance will perform at noon on Saturday and Sunday

James Rada, Jr.

colorfest 7The incessant rain on Saturday morning, October 11, 2014, gave way to a cloudy day in the afternoon, transitioning into a sunny, more pleasant day on Sunday for the 51st Annual Colorfest weekend in Thurmont.

The crowds picked up as people turned out for unusual food like Southern-fried Snickers and one-of-a-kind gifts like robot sculptures made from scrap metal by Don Rea. In between, they browsed yard sales or listened to live music being played in front of the town office.

“The crowd started out light because of the rain, but people still came carrying their umbrellas and wearing their ponchos,” said Carol Robertson with Catoctin Colorfest.

The heart of the festival is the 240 juried exhibitors in the Community Park, although booths and vendors could be found throughout Thurmont, along roads, at the carnival grounds, around the American Legion, among others.

Janet Randall and her friend, Rusty, each pulled a collapsible wagon through Community Park looking to fill them with gifts. Randall’s big purchase had been an antique sewing machine that was decorated so that it was more of a craft item than an antique.

Randall said she comes to Colorfest from West River, Maryland, because of all the different crafters who display their goods. She calls all of the craft shows near her home “yard sales” in comparison.

colorfest 4“We’ll have to sneak all this stuff into the house so our husbands won’t see,” Randall said.

While Colorfest was a destination for Randall, Greg Teague and his wife, Beth, just happened to stop in.

“We were going to Gettysburg and were passing by and my wife said that it didn’t look too crowded,” Teague said.

So they parked and began shopping. For Teague, who lives in Frederick, it was his first visit to the festival.

“They have a lot of stuff here,” he said. “It’s a lot bigger than it looks.”

Beth added, “You can get visual overload from everything there is to see.”

It was author Bob O’Connor’s first time at the festival, too, and he was selling his historical novels and history books in Community Park.

colorfest 2“It’s a big crowd here, and they seem like they’re in a spending mood,” O’Connor said. “I mean when you see people walking around with wagons and carts, they are obviously looking to buy.”

Sharon Dustin is a regular visitor to Colorfest. Although she lives in Bowie, she’s been visiting each year for thirty years. It’s a family outing for them. In fact, her granddaughter, Alexis, first came to Colorfest when she was only three weeks old.

“I really like looking at all the stuff that people make,” Dustin said.

Set up for Colorfest begins during the week leading up to the event, with much of it taking place on the Friday before.

“It’s like a little city gets built here in a couple days,” Robertson said. “There are banks with ATMs. The post office is here. The food vendors are restaurants and the other vendors are the businesses.

On average, about 100,000 people visit Colorfest each year.

“The atmosphere of the quaint town of Thurmont, with a population of 6,000 residents, changes every year during the second weekend of October when the festivities of the annual Catoctin Colorfest take place,” states the Catoctin Colorfest website.