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Thurmont Gallery Stroll brings community downtown

Chris Patterson

(6/5) It was the Spring Gallery Stroll in Thurmont Friday, May 23, and area residents crowded Mechanicstown Square Park to tap toes and sing along to the Glade Valley Travelers.

Folks strolling through town, young and old, could not help but stop for a while to enjoy the quintet’s renditions of old classics. A mom bounced a little girl with blonde curls on her hip while a grandmother sang along to the quintet.

Up the road at the Historical Society, Carol Stevens poured lemonade and offered chocolate chip cookies to visitors touring the Creeger House.

Stevens said the Gallery Stroll was drawing many people into the building where people use the second floor library to study their family’s genealogy.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said of the event. “It lets the community know what’s out there. It lets people who have moved into the town know that we are here and….that they don’t have to be a member to do research here.”

Thurmont residents Rodman Myers said he and his wife Jean were enjoying the stroll for the first time, happily munching on snacks served by local businesses. The family would have been bailing hay but the heavy rains meant the hay was still too wet to bail so they were able to come, they said.

Rebecca Pearl’s Gallery was jammed, as it usually is for these events, with art connoisseurs enjoying her newest work and those of other artists she features.

Janice Hushfarver of New Windsor was among the gallery’s guests enjoying the wine and appetizers. Hushfarver met Pearl at another Gallery Stroll and became one of her art students. “It’s been a real blessing since I met her,” Hushfarver said, adding that she has been able to sell several of her own pieces.

A couple of doors down, Pamela Hamrick, owner of the interior design shop, Heart and Hands, and her very friendly dog Rachel Joy happily greeted visitors to the shop. Hamrick said being in Thurmont has been a blessing and she really enjoyed the Gallery Stroll.

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really neat,” she said of the stroll. “I was thinking I would be so tired at the end of the day, but I’ve had a great time talking with everyone in town today.”

Artist Rebecca Harrick, located at a table outside of Hobbs Hardware, had similar sentiments. It was her first time showing her work at a Gallery Stroll and she was very happy with the interest visitors had in her work.

Thurmont’s Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder said she considered the turnout for the event to be excellent. “We had people coming at 6 p.m. and it didn’t start until 6:30 p.m., and the weather cooperated,” she said.

Grinder said there are a couple of benefits for the town from the Gallery Stroll, such as showcasing the town’s Main Street businesses and bringing everyone down to support them.

“We are in a tough economy right now,” she said of the toll it is taking on small businesses. “…And I can tell you that everyone in the hospitality business is barely holding their own right now.”

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