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Town in the black from Colorfest

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(11/20) This year’s Colorfest broke a three-year string of the town losing money on the weekend festival.

According to preliminary figures from the Town of Thurmont, the profit from this year’s Colorfest was $13,154, a figure that more than offsets the town’s losses during 2005-2007.

The two big changes this year were an additional $2 parking fee per car; and the Thurmont Police Department issued parking tickets.

“Without tickets and parking, we would have been in the red and this was a good year,” Mayor Martin Burns said during a citizen meeting to begin dissecting what went wrong and what went right with this year’s Colorfest.

More than two dozen people showed up at the town office on Nov. 12 to talk about the annual festival. Though the increased parking fee brought nearly $6,000 more for the town, it was also the most contentious issue.

Burns said that the commissioners instituted the fee because they didn’t want residents paying for the festival through their tax dollars but rather wanted to spread the cost among the people who come into town for festival.

“After looking at these figures, I would never vote to change it,” said Commissioner Ron Terpko. “We hit the nail on the head with this system. It’s good.”

He pointed out that despite the complaints about the parking fee, Colorfest cost a family of four only $10 (for parking) while the Christmas festival in Frederick would cost the same family of four $32 (for parking and admission).

Some of the non-profit organizations like the Thurmont Ambulance Company said that Colorfest was their biggest fundraiser of the year and were appreciative of the festival.

Jack Newkirk, principal of Catoctin High School, pointed out that with the new $2 fee, by charging the new parking rate of $10, the school made $3 more per car.
“We raised more money than we ever had parking,” Newkirk said.

The commissioners plan to hold additional meetings to evaluate Colorfest and decide what changes, if any, need to be made for next year.

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