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1,600 attend the business expo

Brooke Vinyard

(4/5) Thurmont business owners and members of the community flooded the two gymnasiums and lobby of Catoctin High School on the evening of March 30, for the Third Annual Thurmont Business Expo.

Thurmont Commissioner Bill Blakeslee believes that this years expo drew in around 1,600 patrons, if not more. It was virtually impossible to get an exact number. We had people coming and going from multiple entrances, he said.

The Thurmont Economic Development Commission established the expo in 2005 to emphasize local businesses in the area. This years theme, Hawaiian luau, was a hit among both exhibitors and spectators. Diana Stull, owner of The Beauty Shop, was dressed in complete Hawaiian attire as she handed out floral hair pins to guests.

I came to see what the local businesses have to offer. The theme is so fun and is really put together, said Laura Hobbs of Thurmont.

Dr. Richard B. Love D.D.S. and his associates spent the evening speaking with members of the community, and even some of their current patients, while handing out toothbrushes and bottles of mouthwash. A lot of people are inclined to go down the road to find quality service. What people dont realize is that we offer that same quality service in our small town, he said. Adding, Its great to see faces that you know and have the ability to call each individual by name. Its the hometown touch.

We really enjoy coming to the expo; weve even found a few businesses that we never knew existed, said Thurmont local Darlene Sharer. Her husband, Rich Sharer, added, Its a great way to re-familiarize yourself with the community.

Another exhibitor, John Nickerson, owner of Gnarly Art Design Shop presented samples of his work, as well as photographs of projects past. Ive been living here for so long, but I do work all over Maryland. I thought I would show my face in my own town for a change, he said.

Businesses werent the only ones to find their niche at the expo, fundraisers were found to support members of the Thurmont community. Catoctin High School senior Samantha Keeney took the opportunity to solicit donations for her senior project, a fundraiser to benefit a toddler with severe medical bills; as did the Thurmont Lions Club, who collected for Catoctin senior Casey Bly.

Many local restaurant and eateries offered an array of samplings to patrons, including smoothies from Cool Beans, and crab dip from the Shamrock restaurant.

Catoctin High School has become the unofficial home to the expo after the event outgrew the American Legion within two hours of the first expo.

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