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53rd Annual Colorfest

Danielle Ryan

(9/21) Colorfest is right around the corner and will be held on October 8 and 9 in the Community Park located on Frederick Road in Thurmont. Demonstrations by various crafters will be taking place throughout the two days, including broom making, wood turnings, and wood carvings of flowers. Crafts and food will also be bountiful for all visitors to enjoy.

Though the event may be popular among many, the town has been facing some cost issues for the past couple of years. Earlier this year, it was announced that the Thurmont town Council voted to increase Colorfest permit fees as well as make cuts to town services supporting the event. The decisions were made in an effort to stem losses to the town from the annual fall event.

The town spent $61,589 to support the 2015 Colorfest, but the event only returned $49,153 to the town coffers in the form of permits and parking fees. This left a deficit of over $12,000 that had to be picked up by the residents of Thurmont. It was the fourth year that the town has seen a loss in money from Colorfest.

A workshop was held back in January to generate ideas and suggestions on ways that the town could increase revenue and decrease costs. Ideas concerning the increase in parking fees were considered, but were quickly vetoed, as the Council didnít want to discourage visitors to the festival due to pricey parking.

The town Council did vote to raise permit fees. Craft permit fees were raised from $35 to $50. Information only vendor fees were raised from $0 to $50, and non-profit food vendor fees were raised from $27 to $30. The council, however, chose to keep the parking and yard sale permit fees as proposed, $35 and $15.

After a cost analysis was completed by town staff, the Council also voted to reduce services provided by the town that will save the town approximately $10,000. There will be less portable toilets at the event, less buses used for transportation, and one less message sign advertising the event on Route 15.

The town is hopeful that Colorfest will go smoothly this year, as it truly is a popular event for locals and visitors from outside the area. Colorfest began in 1963, and has quickly evolved into a juried Arts & Crafts Show featuring 300 well-known and respected artists from the across the United States. Colorfest has been recognized in Sunshine Artists Magazine and ranked in the top 35 shows in the United States and is one of the largest on the East Coast. Those who stop by will surely enjoy a day of fun, crafts and delicious food.

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