James Rada Jr.
(3/15) It may only be March in
Thurmont, but don’t be surprised if you see
grass skirts and coconut bras at Catoctin High
on Mar. 30. That’s the date for the Third
Annual Thurmont Business Expo.
“This year, it’s going to have a Hawaiian
theme with more room inside and more parking
outside,” said Bill Blakeslee, the town’s
liaison with the economic development
The event is expected to have 90
Thurmont-based businesses and restaurants
displaying their business services. Attendees
get lots of free giveways, such as steamed
shrimp, balloons, pasta dishes, candy, toys
and chocolate-covered bananas. Visitors can
also vote for “Thurmont’s Best” at the
Thurmont Economic Development Commission
“It’s the best way for a business to reach
1,000 people,” said Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s
Main Street manager.
Last year, about 1,500 people attended the
expo at Catoctin High, which had a Mardi Gras
“A lot of businesses took the Mardi Gras
them and ran with it,” Grinder said. “I expect
even more will tie into the theme this year.”
The event was created as way to let town
residents know just what businesses and
services are in town. It’s a way to encourage
people to shop and do business locally.
“We’ve got at least 12 new businesses this
year that I’d never heard of,” Grinder said.
Blakeslee said at last year’s expo he heard
a number of people say they hadn’t realized
that Thurmont had a particular type of
“Some of the business owners have said they
have gotten new customers from people who saw
them at the expo,” Blakeslee said.
The expo began two years ago in the
Thurmont American Legion. About 650 people
came to see 50 businesses.
“We outgrew the American Legion the first
year at about 6:30 p.m.,” Grinder said.
Last year, the expo moved to Catoctin High
in both gymnasiums. This year, the space will
expand to the hallways in front of the
auditorium and cafeteria.
“It’s a social evening that relaxing and
fun,” Grinder said. “And the theme is an
appropriate way to fight the winter blahs.”
The expo will be on Mar. 30 from 6 p.m. to
9 p.m. at Catoctin High School in Thurmont.