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Blair Garrett

The 55th Annual Catoctin Colorfest may have been rainy, but it did not stop lovers of arts, crafts, and great food from flooding the streets of Thurmont.

Business owners and Colorfest workers trekked through the mud during the peak hours of the morning to bring one of the East Coast’s biggest craft shows to life for the people of the Catoctin Area. Locals and visitors poured in from dusk until dark, grabbing the best deals they could find from their favorite vendors.

Even with the overcast skies and muddy terrain, nothing was going to stop Thurmont visitors and residents alike from picking up their favorite hand-crafted carvings and ornaments.

From turkey legs to airbrushed paintings, Colorfest offered something for everyone to enjoy. It also offered an engaging experience for patrons to discover the talented works of local business owners.

One family business, in particular, makes gel-based candles that resemble fan favorite food and drinks. Between delectable apple pies or gallon-sized pitchers of beer, Jeff Bartos’ candles smell as good as they look. Bartos and his wife Donna have been making candles for decades under the business name “D.J. Flickers Candles,” finding the perfect fusion of realistic looking desserts and fragrant aromas to make a candle that lights up a room.

The Bartos family took quite the route to finding their way to becoming a mainstay at the annual Colorfest. Jeff was a truck driver, and Donna was the head designer of a candle company. Donna eventually split from her company, and the pair created a candle shop in the garage of their house.

“She was doing little craft shows on the weekend, and I was still driving trucks,” Bartos said. “You make three times what I make just doing the craft shows. This is what we’re going to do for a living, and we’ve done it for a living for the last twenty-four years.”

The Bartos’s story is one that many families who make up the vendors of Colorfest have lived. Taking a chance on their dream to produce something they love to make for a living is what keeps Colorfest thriving year after year, and it is what keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.

There is no shortage of variety among the hundreds of vendors showing off their products, as well as the broad variety of great food and dessert choices found at Colorfest. With two days to travel across all the parks and streets, event goers can discover the many amazing talents of artists while having a tasty meal with the kids in an environment perfectly suited to satisfy your hunger and your sweet tooth.

Colorfest not only offers families from around the East Coast to get out and have some fun, but it also allows them to tap into a piece of the local culture of the greater Catoctin area, which is a big reason why the event is an annual smash hit.

From stand to stand and person to person, there is a story to be told. Vendors may have gotten their starts in different ways, and may have vastly different industries, but everyone has one common goal in mind: to put on a great show for the community.

Though the streets are no longer be filled with fine arts and trademark foods until next year’s Colorfest, our local residents have the lasting keepsakes and memories from another successful Colorfest.

Scouts pose for a picture with Mayor John Kinnaird at their booth in front of the American Legion, selling popcorn, beef sticks, drinks, and candy bars to help support their camping adventures.

The folks from Mason Dixon Hydro Dipping show off their colorful, handcrafted tumblers.