Currently viewing the tag: "Town of Thurmont"

The Town of Thurmont has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program. Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, president & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new jobs were created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.

“The benefits that we receive from being a nationally accredited Main Street program are a vital component of the critical services the Town of Thurmont provides to our community” stated Jim Humerick, chief administrative officer.  “We are proud to be a Main Street community since 2005 and equally proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far.”

The Town of Thurmont’s performance is evaluated by the State of Maryland Main Street under the Department of Community Housing and Development, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

Since Thurmont’s 2005 designation, the work of Thurmont Main Street has resulted in: $1 million in 57 private investment projects; $676,985 in 26 public improvement projects; 46 new businesses; 138 jobs created; 17,290 volunteer hours valued at $439,685; grants received $760,205.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85.43 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Vickie Grinder

In November, the Town of Thurmont presented Patty Hurwitz from the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health a check for $15,300 from the 7th Annual Gateway To The Cure Campaign!

The Gateway To The Cure included a 5K, Golf Tournament, purchasing pinwheels for our Garden of Love, a Pink Pumpkin contest, selling Gateway To The Cure merchandise, receiving private donations from residents, and selling pink light bulbs.

Last but not least, comes the backbone of our Gateway To The Cure Campaign: Our businesses! In a year of such uncertainty, with business shutdowns and many still operating in very limited capacities, these businesses are a guiding light and show the power, strength, and innovation of small businesses.

Our donation was, to say the least, phenomenal in a year where many of our funding avenues were prohibited due to restrictions that generated several thousand dollars last year.

Every single person who made some type of support along our Gateway To The Cure journey, “Thank You!” Your contribution was not just a donation but directly affects the lives of those undergoing treatment for breast cancer for the hope of a better tomorrow with the state-of-the-art treatment, care, and support at Frederick Health via the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

Thanks to you, the Town of Thurmont has donated a little over $98,000 in seven years to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health.

For more information on the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, visit

On behalf of the Town of Thurmont and Patty Hurwitz, our heart-filled thanks go out to each and every one of you for your contribution!

 The month of October Gateway To The Cure Campaign business supporters: Amber Hill Physical Therapy; Bakers Tree Service; Bollingers Restaurant; Catoctin Veterinary Clinic; Catoctin Breeze Vineyard; Cousins Ace Hardware; Gateway Candyland; Gateway Liquors; Gateway Orthodontics; Hawkins Landscaping; Hobbs Hardware; Images Of You Hair Studio; J&B Real Estate; Kelco Plumbing & Backhoe Services; Legacy Financial; Mountain Gate Family Restaurant; Pondscapes; Rebecca LaChance Artistic Portraits; Rocky’s NY Pizza & Italian Restaurant; Roy Rogers; Scentsy–Traci Solich Independent Consultant; Seven Dragonflies Studio; Town & Country Liquors; Thurmont Bar & Grill; Thurmont Child Care; Thurmont Kountry Kitchen; Thurmont Lions Club; Timeless Trends Boutique; Tracie’s House Of Hair; Wait, What? Sauce Company; Woodsboro Bank. Gateway To the Cure 2nd Annual Golf Classic Donors: Pink Ball Top Tier Sponsors—Colonial Jewelers, Emmitsburg News Journal, J&B Real Estate, Kelco Plumbing, Stauffer Funeral Home, Thurmont Ambulance Company, Woodsboro Bank, Mountain View Lawn Service, Jubilee Foods in Emmitsburg; Hole Sponsors—Affordable Storage; Baker Tree Services; Dick & Elizabeth Lee; G&S Electric; Guardian Hose Company; Lewistown Ruritan; Mikes Auto Body; Pondscapes; Rebecca Pearl Gallery; R.S. Kinnaird Memorials; Shank & Associates; Smoketown Brewery Station; The Farmhouse Exchange; Thurmont American Legion Post 168; Thurmont AMVETS Post #7; Thurmont Kountry Kitchen; Town of Thurmont; Wait, What? Sauce Company; Prize drawing donations—Beaver Creek Country Club; South Mountain Golf Course; Wegman’s; Costco; ThorpeWood; Yemi; McClintock Distilling; Top Golf; Mindful Focus Photography; Wait, What? Sauce; Nicole Lutrell; Warehouse Cinemas; Rebecca Pearl Gallery; Weis Markets.

Pictured from left are Thurmont Commissioners Wayne Hooper and Bill Buehrer, Mayor John Kinnaird, Thurmont Commissioners Marty Burns and Wes Hamrick, and Patty Hurwitz.

Citizens and community officials gathered on East Main Street in Thurmont on Saturday, August 22, 2020, to dedicate the completed murals on the old H&F Trolley Substation building on East Main Street in Thurmont. The mural’s artist, Yemi, has done a masterful job of capturing Thurmont’s history and the many highlights most taken for granted that make our town a great place to live. This project was started several years ago by the Thurmont Lions Club as part of the Thurmont Trolley Trail improvements. Yemi brought his vision and talent to this community arts project.

The recent additions were made possible by: Delaplaine Foundation, Dan Ryan Builders, Gateway Orthodontics, Thurmont Lions Club, Market Research & Resources, Ausherman Family Foundation, Main Street Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Imagination Center, Church of the Brethren, Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Rowland Glass Studio, Marlene B. Young and Mike Young, Catoctin Colorfest Inc., George Delaplaine, an anonymous donor, and The Town of Thurmont.

Pictured from left: front row) Donors: Thurmont Lions Club member Joann Miller, Lori Zimmerman and Dr. Jon Moles from Gateway Orthodontics, Catoctin Colorfest Carol Robertson, Yemi, Marlene and Mike Young, Lion Gene Long, Liesel Fennel from the Maryland State Arts Council, Sage Fagbohun, and Ryan Patterson from the Maryland State Arts Council; (back row) Thurmont Commissioners Bill Buehrer and Marty Burns, and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

In honor of the Catoctin High School Class of 2020, signs celebrating each of the graduates were on display at Catoctin High School on Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22. The signs were provided through the courtesy of the Town of Thurmont, the Town of Emmitsburg, Catoctin High School, and Karen and John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird posted the following message on social media, “We are very proud of each end every one of the students from within the Catoctin High School feeder area, and we congratulate [our graduates] for achieving this goal in your journey through life. Your future holds an entire world of opportunity; make the most of it.”

Thanks to Gateway To The Cure business participants’ donations, along with events held throughout the year, the Town of Thurmont was able to present Patty Hurwitz with a check for $21,000 at the November 19, 2019, town meeting.

A few businesses came out to talk about their promotion/donation at the check presentation: Catoctin Veterinary Clinic, Gateway Orthodontics, Emmitsburg News Journal, Roy Rogers, and the CYA Soccer Club. It was a night to shine for the Town of Thurmont, to show how great the businesses, residents, volunteers, and CYA Soccer Club really are, and how a community comes together each year for this incredible campaign. All proceeds from Gateway To The Cure are donated to the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

Fundraiser participants proudly presented a check for $21,000 to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at a Thurmont Town meeting in November.

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland announced that the Town of Thurmont was one of 17 Maryland municipalities honored at the Sustainable Maryland Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s annual Fall Conference in October in Cambridge, Maryland.

“The Town of Thurmont is extremely proud to once again obtain this touted recognition and certification,” said Mayor John Kinnaird. “Our staff and our Green Team have worked tirelessly to educate our citizens about sustainability, and the results are very indicative of how important these efforts are to our community. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication.”

For detailed information about Thurmont’s sustainability initiatives, please contact Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick at 301-271-7313 or

(from left) Mayor John Kinnaird and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick are shown with the Sustainable Maryland Certified award at the Maryland Municipal League conference.

The Town of Thurmont held a Nominating Convention on Tuesday, October 24, 2019, for the upcoming municipal election in which two commissioner seats are up for election. Five candidates were nominated (pictured right); incumbent Wes Hamrick, new candidates Elliot Jones, Sabrina Massett, and Kenneth Oland, and incumbent Bill Buehrer.

The Thurmont Lions Club will sponsor a Candidate Forum to be held at the town office, the date and time will to be announced.

Mayor John Kinnaird encourages all registered voters to participate in the election and predicted a 50% voter turnout for this election. Let’s prove him right, Thurmont residents!

Dates to remember:

October 1 is the last day to register to vote, you can register at the town office.

October 22 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot.

October 29 elections will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

The Arbor Day Foundation named the Town of Thurmont a 2018 Tree City USA in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.  This is the third consecutive year that Thurmont has received this recognition.

Thurmont achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick accepted the recognition from Becky Wilson, Western Region Coordinator of Urban and Community Forestry, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  “Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained.  Thurmont has once again demonstrated their belief in the importance in preserving and maintaining trees in the community,” stated Wilson.  

The presentation took place during Thurmont’s annual Green Fest on April 13.

Becky Wilson, Western Region coordinator of Urban and Community Forestry, presents Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird (left) and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick (right) with Thurmont’s third consecutive Tree City USA recognition.

The award-winning documentary Heroin’s Grip is scheduled to be shown at Catoctin High School, located at 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. This free event is open to the public and is sponsored by The Town of Thurmont, The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC), and FUSE Teen Center.

 Heroin’s Grip tells the story about the heroin and opioid epidemic from the viewpoint of those on the front lines of this national crisis. The film features a Thurmont family and other Frederick County families whose lives have been affected and forever changed by addiction, and includes stories from those currently using, people in recovery, as well as perspectives from law enforcement, healthcare workers, judges, prosecutors, and others who deal with people in this crisis every day. Ultimately, the film gives hope for the user and for the families who’ve been affected.

The film is produced and directed by Emmitsburg resident, Conrad Weaver.  The first lesson Conrad Weaver learned about heroin, as he worked to produce his new film Heroin’s Grip, was that no one is immune. Addiction captures rich and poor alike.

As one reviewer writes, “This movie is so relevant to what families are experiencing across our country. Anyone with a child should see this film. How do we keep our kids from falling into addiction? Heroin’s Grip will put it into perspective for you.”

Maryland currently ranks as the sixth deadliest state for drug overdoses.  During 2018, there were 55 fatal opioid-related overdoses, and 279 non-fatal overdoses in Frederick County alone. Within the United States, there were over 72,000 opiod-related deaths in 2017.  This is an epidemic that spans across all ages, races, and economic groups. This film gives the viewer a view of the crisis from all perspectives. 

All ages are encouraged to attend. Donations of canned foods will be accepted for the local food bank.

For more information about Heroin’s Grip, visit Follow us online at

The Town of Thurmont was recently recognized by the Maryland Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) and was presented the Best Program Logo award for populations serving under 50,000 people.

In the summer of 2018, the Town of Thurmont offered its inaugural summer parks and recreation program, based out of the Thurmont Community Park. The two-week program was entitled “A Day in the Park” and was a huge success. 

At the request of Park Program Coordinator Deb Abraham Spalding, Gracie Eyler from E Plus Graphics, Printing & Promotions, came up with an original logo that was used to brand the park program.

The logo was an immediate identifier for the program and was easily recognizable. It captures some of the activities provided during the two-week program, and also displays a large deciduous tree as the central focal point, reminding us that natural resources are vital to park programming. 

“This logo is a great resource used in branding our successful summer park program,” stated Mayor John Kinnaird. 

The award was presented to Gracie Eyler, Deb Abraham Spalding, and Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick at the Celebrating Excellence Marketing and Communications Awards Luncheon on February 28, 2019, in Laurel, Maryland.  This is the second consecutive year that Thurmont has received a Marketing and Communications Award from MRPA.

Jim Humerick, Town of Thurmont’s CAO; Deb Abraham Spalding, Day In The Park program coordinator; Gracie Eyler, E Plus Graphics graphic designer; and Carolyn Ryan, MRPA president.

Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. held its annual banquet in November at Simply Asia in Thurmont. This yearly meeting serves as a wrap-up for the Colorfest annual festival.

The weather for the festival was not optimum this year, with cold temperatures on Sunday, some rain, and plenty of mud. Crowds still turned out in large numbers to enjoy the offerings from hundreds of vendors. The festival was also able to avoid the power outages that plagued last year’s event.

During the meeting, annual donations are made to various organizations in Thurmont, in an effort to give back to the community. This year, Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. donated $20,339.22 to the following organizations:

  • $5,100 to Town of Thurmont
  • $4,500 to Catoctin High Scholarships
  • $3,500 to Thurmont Food Bank
  • $1,500 to Guardian Hose Company
  • $1,500 to Thurmont Ambulance Company
  • $1,500 to Thurmont Police Department
  • $696 to Catoctin High School FFA
  • $500 to local victims of a fire
  • $500 to Thurmont Ambulance Company (value of two vendor spaces at the festival used by the company at no cost)
  • $383.22 to Town gardens
  • $225 to Thurmont Library Fun Day
  • $190 to Town of Thurmont for flag lighting
  • $150 to Family Christmas meals
  • $75 to Mechanicstown Park Christmas decorations
  • $20 to American Heart Association

The Town of Thurmont issued 798 vendor permits for the event this year, of which 244 were for the Colorfest, Inc. vendors in Community Park. Among the other stats Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. listed were: 5,120 pounds of trash were generated in Community Park during the event; 72 bales of straw were delivered to combat the mud; and 9,600 apple dumplings were sold by the Thurmont Ambulance Company.

The 56th Annual Catoctin Colorfest will be held on October 12 and 13, 2019.


The Town of Thurmont was recently recognized by the Maryland Recreation and Park Association and was presented the Best Activity Guide Award for populations serving under 50,000 people.

The Thurmont Walk, Bike & Drive Map and Guide provides hiking, biking, and driving information, along with showcasing parks, history, and popular attractions in Thurmont and the surrounding areas.

The award was presented to Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder at the Celebrating Excellence Marketing and Communications Awards Luncheon on March 1, 2018, at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore.

“This guide is a great resource for our visitors, as well as our residents. I want to thank Vickie and her team for their hard work on this terrific project,” stated Mayor John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick are pictured with the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association “Best Activity Guide” Award, following the awards luncheon in Baltimore on March 1, 2018.

Thurmont American Legion Post 168

Ed Gravatt, Past Commander

Just in case any of you haven’t noticed, the Town of Thurmont did an excellent job in cleaning up after Colorfest, and wasn’t it a beautiful weekend. I want to send out a big “Thank You” to several members of our Sons of the American Legion for their tireless efforts getting our Octoberfest set up and cleaned up. Without their assistance, it wouldn’t have come off so effortlessly. Now we can start planning for next year.

In the past couple of months, we have had to do some extensive repairs, and there will be a handicap restroom in the near future. All of this required some patience, both on our part and from members who had to contend with our construction mess and inconveniences.

There is some really good entertainment here at the Legion this month. On Saturday, November 4, 5 1/2 Men will be here again; pretty soon, they might have to change their name to 5 3/4 Men. They are a very good band, playing a variety of music from country to Rock to Pop. On November 11, we have the honor to have the Catoctin High School Safe & Sane Dance here again this year. This is an excellent event, raising funds to help keep our Kids SAFE, and out of trouble. On November 17, we will have TC Beats in our party room.

Please remember that our kitchen is open on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Doreen and Christi do a wonderful job; we are lucky to have them.  The soups and specials from our kitchen are made from scratch and could compare to any of the finest restaurants around. Come on out for a good meal. Join us for the Ace of Hearts drawing on Wednesdays or for Bingo on Thursdays, along with  some great entertainment on most Fridays.

We, here at the Edwin C Creeger American Legion Post 168, would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. For any of you who may be venturing into the wilderness this month in search of the elusive White Tail Deer, please have a safe and successful hunt.

The Town of Thurmont and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club hosted a dedication of the East End Park Inclusive Playground on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Community members, club members, and town and county representatives gathered at the playground, where Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird gave a welcome and announced the completion of Phase I of the playground’s installation. He also announced that funds for Phase II are already in place, as well as funds for an ADA-compliant restroom in an existing building at the playground.

Catoctin Area Civitan Club members attended a town meeting and proposed the project, which took about a year and a half to complete to this point. The playground provides a space where physically and developmentally challenged individuals, as well as those without physical challenges, can have fun and play in the same place. Club President Ginger Malone explained that the Civitans help people with physical and intellectual disabilities. The national organization is celebrating its 100th year of service this year. Malone thanked the team who made the inclusive playground project come to life, including Jeff Barber, president of Playground Specialists, the company that installed the playground.

The totally inclusive playground is one of the first for the Frederick County region. Phases II and III will add a glider for children in wheelchairs, a cocoon for children with autism, and a music station. Malone thanked the residents of Thurmont for supporting the Civitans with fundraising from the blue toilet campaign. “If you get the traveling blue toilet, please make sure the recipients support it,” said Malone.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner had a good time trying out the zip line. Gardner said, “I think this is a great accomplishment for all of you, because it’s really important to the children of this town and Frederick County.” She presented a certificate of appreciation to the Catoctin Area Civitan Club for taking the lead to find the funding.

Mayor Kinnaird prompted Jeff Barber to express how great the town of Thurmont is. Barber explained that Phases II and III will tie in the pavilion with the playground. Barber explained, “Inclusive playgrounds feature pieces of equipment that are accessible to everyone and can be accessed at transfer height. So both challenged individuals and non-challenged individuals can play together.” He added, “The playground pieces need to be ‘cool’ enough to be fun for everyone. This will actually be one of the coolest and best playgrounds in all of Frederick County for all kids.”

Julie DeRoner, a Thurmont resident, is a parent of children with disabilities and works with children with disabilities at the Frederick County Developmental Center. She expressed that the playground, “is an excellent opportunity for inclusive play.”

Town of Thurmont officials, Frederick County officials, and members of the Catoctin Civitan Club are shown cutting the ribbon for the official opening of the Inclusive Playground in Thurmont.

Vickie Grinder has been named as the new Economic Development Manager for the Town of Thurmont. Grinder has recently served as Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, a part-time position, since 2013. During her tenure as Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, Grinder has overseen many popular events, including Christmas in Thurmont, the Thurmont Business Showcase, the Main Street Farmers’ Market, and the annual Art and Wine Strolls.

Grinder’s new responsibilities will include the promotion and marketing of business and economic development interests within the town, providing guidance to existing businesses, attracting new business opportunities to Thurmont, and continuing to oversee the Thurmont Main Street program.

“We’re looking forward to increasing our economic development efforts in Thurmont. Vickie’s professional contacts and her determination for the success of Thurmont’s business community will prove to be invaluable as we move forward,” stated Thurmont Commissioner and Main Street Liaison Bill Buehrer.

Grinder, who resides in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, is scheduled to begin working in her new position on January 17, 2017.

The Town of Thurmont is inviting all interested parties to bid on the following surplus equipment:

  • 1999 Chevrolet C-7500 Dump Truck. Unit comes with snow plow and salt spreader; 5 speed hi-lo transmission. Mileage: 36,241. Minimum bid is $500.
  • 1982 GMC 7000 Dump Truck. 5-speed manual transmission. Mileage: 85,741. Minimum bid is $500.

Both vehicles are available for viewing. Please call 301-748-5748 for questions or to schedule an appointment for viewing the vehicles. Bids will be received until 3:00 p.m. on January 13, 2017, at: Town of Thurmont, PO Box 17, Thurmont, MD 21788.

Anita DiGregory

With a chill in the air, twinkling lights illuminating shops and homes, and decorations going up all over, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Catoctin area.

The town of Emmitsburg started decorating for the holidays with wreaths the week before Thanksgiving. They added new garland around the square this year, and, of course, the annual Christmas Tree adorns the bank corner on the square. Three of Emmitsburg’s Public Works crew—Chris Wantz, Darrell Lambright, and Davy Wantz Jr.—put up the decoations. Davy Wantz said, “Some people were asking why we were putting the decorations up so early. I told them we wanted to get it done while the weather was good.” Emmitsburg resident, Boyle ????? said, “I enjoy the decorations and look forward to the holiday activities that take place every year.” Emmitsburg residents Bev Adams, Frankie Fields, and Audrey Glass, all recall fond memories of the fresh pine swag decorations that were created by ladies in Emmitsburg. That project was spearheaded by the late Ann Dingle.

The town of Thurmont started decorating before Thanksgiving in order to get everything beautiful in time for the Christmas season. The Electric Department, comprised of four employees, was tasked with hanging all the decorations and lights in Thurmont. According to Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick, it takes approximately 240 man hours over the span of a week and a half to get everything decorated for the holidays. With last year’s introduction of the new streetlights on Main Street, new decorations had to be purchased. In an effort to spread the cost over a three-year period, the town opted to purchase and introduce the decorations over time. The new decorations, which included garland and wreaths, were introduced last year. Of the 62 new streetlights, 48 now are complete with the new decorations. The angels, which had been used with the old, taller streetlights, have been moved to the Thurmont Community Park.  “Last year was the first year the angels were relocated to Community Park, and the community really liked it. It makes a nice ambience for Christmas,” stated Humerick.

For several years, Thurmont Electric Supervisor Gary Hodges has been part of the staff charged with decorating Thurmont. Having been with the town for ten years, Hodges happily added, “There is never a dull moment when decorating for Christmas in Thurmont. But everyone works together to get it done in a timely manner, and in the end, it is all worth it.” In addition to all of their other responsibilities within town, the electric department staff must hang all the decorations. This task includes checking all the bulbs and replacing dead bulbs. Although the task may sound overwhelming at times, Hodges stated, “It is a great thing, very rewarding knowing everyone and all the kids enjoy it!”

Although the decorations were hung before Thanksgiving, the lights (minus those on the town Christmas tree), were not scheduled to be lit until the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. In addition to our towns’ celebrations and decorating, the community has also gotten into the spirit of the season.

Virginia LaRouche, owner of Timeless Trends Boutique on Main Street began around Halloween decorating the shop with her staff.  “Every year we close for a week, cover the windows so no one can peak, decorate for the holidays, and open for our Holiday Open House,” stated LaRouche. LaRouche and her daughter, Mary Guiles, choose a new theme for each holiday season. Once settled on this year’s theme of “home for the holidays,” the five staff members set out to magically transform the shop into a beautifully decorated home away from home. With the focus on family and being home for the holidays, the boutique is filled with holiday décor suitable for every style home, from primitive to modern to Victorian. This year, the shop houses no less than twenty-one decorated Christmas trees, in addition to furniture for the holidays, and loads of unique decorations. Regular customers, along with the community, have come to look forward to this official kick-off to the holiday season. Much time and care is spent decorating the store for the holidays, especially the shop window.  “I get so excited…worse than a little kid on Christmas Eve. I love taking down the paper and revealing the window,” stated LaRouche. The twinkling lights and magical store transformation delights customers and residents alike. Everyone seems to look forward to the introduction of the season.

Nick Kinna, manager of the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, agrees. Having been with the Mountain Gate since 1992, Kinna has witnessed how their regular customers, and the community at large, enjoy the restaurant’s kickoff to the holiday season, when they officially open their life-size Nativity Scene and light their Christmas trees. “The regulars look forward to it being opened. We always get calls to see if we have opened it yet. People are glad to see it,” Kinna added.

“I think it is awesome that they do that. I love it. It is really gorgeous!” stated Teresa Williams, a Brunswick resident and regular customer, who has been coming back to the Mountain Gate for twenty years.

Area residents Bern and Terry Sweeney also decorated early this year. “I am ready for it. I get excited this time of year when we get to decorate and put the trees up,” said Terry Sweeney. With five daughters and eight grandchildren, the Sweeney home is always full for the holidays. “I have always gone all-out for Christmas. I like to turn out the lights and just look at the Christmas lights.”

Frank and Jody Kurtz, who have lived in their current home since 1996, also decorated a bit earlier this year. “We missed it last year because we were busy traveling a lot, and I was not going to miss it this year,” stated Frank Kurtz. “I like Christmas. It is a way to look back and see what you are thankful for and a reflection of why we are here.” The Kurtz’s, together, coached youth league and high school cross country and track for eleven years in the community.

During a time when many in the country are struggling to find hope, and in spite of the barrage of negative news dominating the nation, it is a gift and blessing to be a part of such a close-knit community, spreading the joy of the season.

“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”  —Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street.


Photos by Anita DiGregory

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland announced that the Town of Thurmont was one of fourteen Maryland municipalities honored at the Sustainable Maryland Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s annual Fall Conference on October 17, 2016, in Solomons, Maryland.

Highlights of Thurmont’s accomplishments include:

  • Adopted a Sustainable Procurement Policy in 2016 that ensures that town staff considers sustainability when purchasing products and/or services to be utilized within the town’s operations.
  • Began an LED street light retrofit program in 2015, which has thus far installed 62 new downtown LED street lights and 30 new subdivision LED street lights.
  • Hosted a Farmers Market since 2005.
  • Promotes “Thurmont Business Bucks” as part of a “Buy Local” campaign. This program allows residents to purchase “coupons” that can be used at any participating business in town, keeping more money circulating locally.
  • An average of 320 households made up of over 1,300 individuals receive food each month from the Thurmont Food Bank.
  • Established a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Ordinance, which details specific characteristics that must be met including building design, street alignments and design, and architectural details.

“I am very proud of the joint resident and municipal effort that has resulted in Thurmont being recognized as a Sustainable Maryland Certified municipality,” said Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. “I specifically want to thank the Thurmont Green Team for their tireless investment of time, energy and leadership in this worthwhile endeavor.  The projects and initiatives implemented by the Thurmont Green Team has set our town on a course of environmental awareness, renewed our sense of community and most importantly will help insure a healthier and economically viable future for Thurmont’s residents.”

“Every year, the Environmental Finance Center is proud to welcome more municipalities to the Sustainable Maryland community,” said Dan Nees, director of the Environmental Finance Center. “The incredible growth of this program demonstrates that so many communities across the state are dedicated to healthier, more sustainable futures. The shared commitment of local elected officials, municipal staff and Green Team volunteers in these diverse towns and cities are a testament to Maryland’s vision of resilience.”


(from left) Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick, Green Team Assistant Leader Cindy Poole, and Mayor John Kinnaird are shown with the Sustainable Maryland Certified award at the Maryland Municipal League Conference in October.

Decorate your residence or business for the town-wide Thurmont Halloween Decorating Contest! Prizes will be given for the Best Halloween Decorations: 1st place winner will receive $75.00; 2nd place winner will receive $50.00; and third place winner will receive $25.00. Judging will take place on October 27 and 28. The three prize winners will be announced at Halloween in the Park on October 29, and at the town Meeting on Tuesday, November 1.

The Thurmont Best Halloween Decoration Contest is sponsored by the Thurmont Social Activity Committee and the Town of Thurmont. Contest only applies to those within the town limits.

For more information, email

Town of Thurmont staff and elected officials are beginning to plan for the 2nd Annual Thurmont Think Pink 5K Run/Walk. The event will be held on Saturday October 22, 2016, beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Eyler Road Park in Thurmont. The event will provide awards for overall male and female top five finishers. Each participant will also receive a Think Pink t-shirt and other goodies. The cost of the event is $25.00 per participant; $35 the day of the event. Runners and walkers may register online at For more information on the Think Pink 5K, contact CAO Jim Humerick at 301-271-7313.

Thurmont Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder is working on other Think Pink events that will be held in the month of October. Thurmont will once again be adorned with pink light bulbs and pink ribbons all through town, along with something new this year: pink pinwheels! Thurmont, known as the “Gateway to the Mountains,” has adopted the slogan “Gateway to the Cure” during each October, since 2014. Gateway to the Cure t-shirts will be on sale at the Thurmont Municipal Offices along with other items. Once again this year, all proceeds will go to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

Thanks to the generous support from residents, businesses, and friends, the Town of Thurmont presented Ms. Hurwitz with a check last year that totaled $10,000. Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper stated, “This is a wonderful cause, and we are proud to do whatever we can to help. We encourage everyone to show their support and think pink.”

The Town of Thurmont is partnering with the Catoctin Mountain Park on the Gateway Trail project. The Gateway Trail links the Thurmont Memorial Park, the Trolley Trail, and the Thurmont Community Park to the trailhead located at the Lewis Area on West Main Street. Until further acquisition can be obtained by the Town of Thurmont, the current Gateway Trail alignment starts at the Trolley Trail to the east and the Community Park to the south. From those two points, the alignment turns north onto South Altamont Avenue and then turns west on West Main Street, eventually linking to the Lewis Area of Catoctin Mountain Park, just west of Route 15. The trail from the Lewis Area then connects hikers to scenic Chimney Rock.

Thurmont Public Works crews installed Gateway Trail signs identifying this route. This project creates a wonderful connection between the park and Thurmont. Thanks to Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder, former Catoctin Mountain Park Superintendent Mel Poole, and current Park Superintendent Rick Slade for spearheading this project.

Deb Spalding

BollingersBollinger’s Restaurant, located at 210 North Church Street in Thurmont, recently secured a beer-only license and is now serving bottled and draft beer. Yingling and Coors Light are served on a cold draft line, while bottled beers include Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bold Rock Hard Cider, and a seasonal IPA.

Their popular wing night will continue on Wednesdays and will now be complimented with discount beer and pitchers of beer. Co-owner, co-cook, and co-bottle washer, Josh Bollinger (pictured right) said, “We have ten different flavors of wings and more to come!”

Bollinger’s is rolling out a new menu in January that will feature more barbeque options, in addition to long-time favorites. Be on the lookout for Bollinger’s Restaurant to team up with the Town of Thurmont for Thurmont’s first annual wing eating competition in early spring.

Bollinger’s Restaurant will also host a barbeque sandwich food challenge. Challengers will be faced with a three-pound sandwich and French fries to eat within twenty minutes. Winners get the meal for free and their post on Bollinger’s Wall of Fame.

Don’t forget, you can buy Josh’s famous Uncle Dirty’s BBQ Sauces in bottles at the restaurant or in the Thurmont Main Street Center. For more information call 301-271-3500. See their advertisement on page 6 for a discount dining coupon.


by Valerie Nusbaum

I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that the holidays are almost here. A few minutes ago, we were sweating and wishing for a break from the heat, and now we’re thinking about Thanksgiving dinner and what to buy Uncle Frank for Christmas. Still, with Thanksgiving approaching, I should acknowledge some things that I’m thankful for.

Randy and I do a little traveling in the fall. In recent years, we’ve done mostly day trips. Though, things don’t always go as smoothly as we’d like. One night, I glanced out the window and saw Randy’s truck pulling up out front. The door flew open, and I looked up to see a scowling, fuming man.

“When did we change our PIN for the ATM?” he fired off.

“We didn’t,” I replied.

My hubby had gone out to run some errands around town, one of which was to get us some cash for our trip to Pennsylvania the next day. He went on to explain that the ATM had spit out the card twice, with the message that he was using an incorrect PIN. He ranted that for the last twenty years, he had been using the same number and now that number wouldn’t work. I asked what number he’d used and he rattled off four digits ending in “9”.

“Well there’s the problem, dear. Our PIN ends in “3”. You just had a brain freeze. Happens all the time to me,” I laughed.

We argued for a while, with each of us sticking to our story; however, in truth, neither of us could say for certain what our PIN number really is. I went upstairs and searched through our old rolodex in the hope that years ago I had written it down. I couldn’t find it there or in the file cabinet. Then my brain turned on, and I looked at Randy and blurted out the correct number. Both of us had been wrong before. His face cleared up, and he agreed that I finally had the right number. We eventually got the mess straightened out.

I’m grateful that our memories aren’t totally gone, that we’re still able to get around, and that the ladies at our bank don’t judge us.

Perhaps we should just give up on using the ATM; on our next outing, we stopped by the bank for some cash. Randy was driving my car. He got a little too close to the building and scraped the tire. I bit my tongue and glared at him. He scowled back at me and proceeded to drop the ATM card out the window. He couldn’t get the car door open far enough to retrieve the card, and the swearing started. There was a car behind us, so we couldn’t back up. I got out, walked around my car, wedged myself between the car and the bank, and picked up the card. I called Randy a bad name, and I apologized to the person behind us. That person shook his head and did not look happy.

We got our money and then drove over to McDonald’s to get some drinks for the road. Randy ordered two senior Diet Cokes. When he pulled around to the window to pay, the young lady took his money and said, “You don’t look like a senior, but ok. Congratulations. You’re doing well.”

Randy spat out, “What the heck does that mean? Should I have said, ‘Why, yes, I’m upright, I’m mobile, and some days I can make water!’” I just looked out the window, hoping that our day would get better. After all, the young woman at McDonald’s hadn’t told me that I was doing well. Evidently, I do look like a senior citizen.

I’m grateful that we’re able to take these trips, that we have a little cash in the bank, and that some businesses give old people a discount.

I am also grateful for MapQuest and GPS, even though Randy often argues with them and tells them how wrong they are.

A nice lady (whose name I didn’t catch) visited us in our booth at Colorfest. She saw our names on our tent banner and wanted to know if we were “that” Randy and Valerie from The Catoctin Banner. I’m always hesitant to admit it until I find out if I’m in trouble, but this lady said she enjoyed reading about us. That same day, a nice gentleman named Russell visited us and told us that he, too, likes reading my column in The Banner.

As always, I’m grateful and amazed that anyone wants to read the things I write, and I’m grateful for my relationships with The Catoctin Banner, Catoctin Colorfest, and the Town of Thurmont.

I’m grateful that my mother and my in-laws are still with us, and I’m thankful for the years I had with my dad. I appreciate my friends—old and new—and I’m grateful for family near and far. Food on the table, clothes on my back, freedom to come and go, and so much more, are things I’m grateful for. Most of all, I’m grateful to have a partner who muddles through life with me. And, of course, I’m thankful for Bill Blakeslee.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have much for which to be grateful

think pink donationFor the month of October, the Town of Thurmont sponsored a “Think Pink” fundraising campaign, during which many businesses and residents contributed to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital. “Think Pink” resulted in an impressive response. Through the cooperation of residents and businesses in Thurmont, the Town of Thurmont presented the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital with a check for $5,287.10 at the town’s November 18, 2014, meeting.

Thurmont’s Chief Administrative Officer, Jim Humerick, stated, “To have this type of participation and support from businesses and residents for the first year of our program is phenomenal. This speaks volumes about our community.”

“Thanks to all the ‘Think Pink’ Business participants, the residents, and the Town of Thurmont. Thurmont rocks!” added Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, Vickie Grinder.