by James Rada, Jr.


Town Considering Raising Colorfest Permit Fees

Once again, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering increasing the Catoctin Colorfest permit fees. The income generated from the fees pays the town’s costs for security, sanitation, and transportation at the festival that attracts an estimated 100,000 people to Thurmont during the second weekend in October. As these costs increase, the mayor and commissioners may need to increase the permit costs to cover the increases. They are seeking to be proactive if this year’s bids for services come in significantly higher than last year.

Another thing that might drive up permit fees is if the number of vendors continues to fall. Last year, the festival had 615 vendors, a drop from the 720 vendors in 2019. Colorfest President Carol Robertson is hopeful that the number of vendors will increase this year.

If the commissioners raise the fees this year, it could put a strain on organizations that host vendor sites because many vendors have already paid for this year’s vendor spaces based on the current permit fee costs.

Parking is already expected to cost visitors more this year because the mayor and commissioners had voted previously to require $4.00 for every parked vehicle instead of $2.00. The town has encouraged those organizations that provide parking during the festival to increase their cost to customers, so they don’t lose money.

Thurmont May Get a Brewery

Scott Austin has approached the town about opening a brewery at 6 East Main Street. Austin is a New Market resident who owns two other Thurmont businesses: Structural Building Solutions and Hobbs’ Lumber and Hardware

Austin proposed to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that if the town purchases the property, Austin will lease it from them and open a brewery there.

Vickie Grinder, the town’s economic development manager, used a Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development grant to cover the purchase price of the building. Austin is now working on opening the promised brewery.

The town made zoning rule changes recently so that a microbrewery is now allowed in general business zoning districts. Bollinger’s Restaurant is also planning to add a brewery.

Mayor John Kinnaird and Grinder both hope the breweries will create an anchor to bring people into downtown Thurmont in the evenings.

Parks & Recreation Commission vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has an open position on the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission. The commission assists in maintaining the town park system and programming, while also providing recommendations for new parks, facilities, programs, and events.

If interested, contact the chief administrative officer at


Sister Anne Higgins is New Emmitsburg Poet Laureate

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners proclaimed Sister Anne M. Higgins as the new Emmitsburg Poet Laureate during the August town meeting. As poet laureate, she “encourages the reading, writing, sharing, and celebration of poetry.” Her term as the poet laureate will expire in August 2024.

Sister Anne is a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and a long-time Emmitsburg area resident. She has taught English for over 22 years at Mount St. Mary’s University and has been a Daughter of Charity for nearly 50 years, as well as a graduate of Saint Joseph College in Emmitsburg.

Sister Anne is an accomplished poet with nine published poetry books. She has had more than 100 of her poems published in journals and magazines, and she has given readings at various venues along the East Coast.

Emmitsburg Gets a Sister City

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners are planning to proclaim Lutsk, Ukraine, a sister city to the Town of Emmitsburg.


During the August Emmitsburg town meeting, Mark Long was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term of August 5, 2022-August 5, 2027. Dan Darnetz was appointed as an alternate member to the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term of August 1, 2022-August 1, 2025.

The board of commissioners also appointed Sharon Hane, Tammy May, Charlotte Mazaleski, and Lynn Orndorff as town election judges. All of the women have previous experience helping with town and county elections.

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