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Business expo showcases Thurmont Mar. 30

James Rada Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(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 commission.

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 booth.

“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 theme.

“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 business.

“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.

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