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Community comes out in droves to exhibit, eat, celebrate at annual show

Ingrid Mezo

(9/15) Halloween is a little over a month away, but that did not discourage contestants in the decorated animal contest at this year’s Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show from dressing their pets in fanciful costumes.

Margaret Buckmeier of Sabillasville, 12, dressed the family dog, a Lhasa Apso named Annie, as a sunflower, while her 9-year-old brother, Garret, dressed his rabbit in a mask and cape. Annie walked away with third prize. The first prize in the decorated animal contest went to a rabbit dressed as a frog, and second place went to a sheep dressed as the devil.

Margaret and her family have come to the Community Show for the last three years, and they had lots of company this year.

Three days of beautiful weather encouraged droves of people to come out to the Community Show at Catoctin High School this year, show President Rodman Myers said.

Traditionally, two local organizations are honored at the Community Show, and this year the Emmitsburg Little League and Thurmont Elementary School were honored for celebrating their 50th anniversaries.

The Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show is always the weekend after Labor Day, and was set up to not interfere with other community shows, which usually occur after the Great Frederick Fair, Myers said.

In the early days of the show, more people planted gardens, and brought produce, fresh vegetables, garden crops and canned fruits and vegetables to the show.

Myers, who has worked on the Community Show since its inception 49 years ago, said a lot of records were broken this year.

Earnings at the bake sale and the beef, sheep, and swine sale were at an all-time high, Myers said.

‘‘Our bake sale was over $8,000," Myers said. ‘‘We set a new record. The exhibit Grand Champion banana cake brought $1,200," Myers said. Maxine Troxell baked the cake and Keyser Garber Well Drilling bought it.

Lots of buyers also turned up to bid record prices on the 70 head of livestock at the show this year.

The grand champion lamb, hog and steer were purchased by Jubilee Foods of Emmitsburg.

Annie Delauter was named the 2005-2006 Catoctin FFA Ambassador Friday evening.

There were 625 exhibitors and about 2,750 exhibits at this year’s show.

Pat Sampson, who runs the 7th Heaven Alpaca store on Main Street in Thurmont, and owns an alpaca farm on Emmitsburg Road, brought two of her alpacas, Diesel and The Duke to the show.

Sampson displayed gloves, hats, sweaters and yarn made of alpaca fur at the show.

The petting zoo was one of the most popular attractions at the show. The Barnyard Olympics were also a hit. Contestants, grouped by age, raced through an obstacle course on which they picked up corn, poured water from one bucket into another, and gathered eggs out of chicken coops before jumping into potato sacks to hop to the finish.

Margaret won a second-place ribbon running through the course.

‘‘Getting the eggs out of the chicken coops was the most fun part," she said.

There were lots of other attractions for visitors at the show this year as well.

Various local organizations and businesses had booths set up along the school’s hallways and inside the gym.

Deer and caribou heads mounted on the walls of Pat and Jeff Geisinger’s taxidermy booth as well as a raccoon that looked ready to walk off the display at any moment greeted visitors into the gym.

Right next door, Catoctin Mountain National Park’s display indicated the return of the black bear to the area and other interesting park facts.

‘‘Several bears have been spotted by rangers this year," Jennie Pumphrey of the Catoctin Mountain Park Service said. ‘‘...We try to educate people about what to do if they encounter a bear."

While the black bear population in the park declined in the 1980s, it has been on the rise since the 1990s, Pumphrey said.

‘‘Black bear attacks are very rare in Maryland," Pumphrey added. ‘‘But if you’re going to be hiking, you need to be prepared."

Children particularly liked the bear foot and skull on display at the park’s exhibit, but the main draw was the motorized deer, Pumphrey said.

As the Community Show drew to a close Sunday afternoon, Meyers seemed very happy with how the show went this year.

‘‘After this is over, we’ll start working on it again for next year," Myers said.

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