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Annual Colorfest sets up shop

Ingrid Mezo
The Gazette


Under the shade of a fall tree, Scott Rosenberg sets up tent poles for this weekend’s Colorfest in Thurmont.
Photo by Timothy Jacobsen/ Special to The Gazette

(10/12) The leaves in the Catoctin Mountains are colorful this year, making this weekend an ideal time to enjoy Thurmont’s 43rd annual Catoctin Colorfest.
In years past, the weather was less cooperative, said Carol Robertson, vice president of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. It rained last year the leaves were still green in other years.

‘‘This year, it looks like we’re already going to have colored foliage for the ‘leafers,’” she said. ‘‘They’re the people that go for drives to look at the scenery.”

And leafers, who descend upon Thurmont in droves each year, are mostly from out of town. Around 6,000 people live in Thurmont, but around 125,000 people attend the three-day event, Robertson said.

‘‘Thurmont is such a small town, we really depend on other people to show up,” she said.

Robertson said she became involved in helping to plan the event 18 years ago. ‘‘I was a local resident, and I became involved primarily because I was a resident,” she said. She does decorative painting and floral design.

‘‘Between [Beverly Zienda] and myself, we work on it 360 days a year,” she said.

On Tuesday morning, Robertson and Zienda were busy setting up crafts sites at the Guardian Hose Co. grounds and Thurmont Community Park.

The third location for the 336 craft stands is Thurmont Middle School.

‘‘Right now, we’re setting up stakes. The tents have already arrived, and that’s what we’ll be doing most of the day today,” Zienda said on Tuesday.

‘‘I got involved back in 1975 because I had just moved here from Valley Forge, Pa., and I wanted to meet people, and I thought Colorfest would be a good way to do that, and it was,” she said. ‘‘My craft is fabric craft. I sew. When I saw Colorfest for the first time in 1974, I thought, ‘Gee I’d really like to have a stand,’ so I joined in 1975.”

Zienda took over as president in 1980. ‘‘I never dreamed I would be president that long, but I love it,” she said.

While the event is going to mostly offer the same things it traditionally has, such as crafts, artwork, and food, a new U.S. Postal Service commemorative cachet and commemorative envelope depicting the Catoctin Furnace will be available in the post office’s mobile unit in the park, Robertson said.

Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns asked that visitors remember to obey all the town’s parking regulations. In years past, people have parked on the exit and entrance ramps into the town.

‘‘One year, we had a problem getting emergency vehicles through an area because of illegally parked cars,” he said. ‘‘Don’t park on the State Highway Administration [SHA] on and off ramps. You will be towed. There is ample parking available. The high school, and the elementary school are designated parking spots. And, for $5 all day long, you can take the shuttle free, and that $5 is donated back to the schools.”

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