Arts, crafts, color

October 12, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

THURMONT, Md. - The first time Paul Irving created a wooden duck decoy for hunting in 1986, the result was "pretty funny looking," he says.

But the Hagerstown-area resident enjoyed the challenge and kept at it, turning the hobby of creating wildfowl decoys into a side business.

Irving, who teaches technology education in Frederick County Public Schools, grew up hunting ducks with his dad. His daughter, Lauren, 19, has taken over painting most of the decoys.

Irving says he'll have about 50 decoys on display and available for sale at this weekend's 43rd annual Catoctin Colorfest. The decoys will include ducks, geese, swans, herons and shorebirds such as sandpipers that Irving created in his stone house's summer kitchen, which he has turned into a workshop.


He will be one of about 350 juried arts and crafts vendors expected at the two-day Colorfest, which typically draws about 100,000 people, says Beverly Zienda, president of the festival.

Last year's attendance was down because of pouring rain, but people still came out to see the arts and crafts, all of which are made by regional craftspeople, Zienda says.

Arts and crafts vendors include a scroll saw artist, a tole painter, acrylic carvers and a craftswoman who makes framed art images, such as a lighthouse, out of dryer lint.

Colorfest began as a nature walk to attract people to Thurmont around the time of year when trees' leaves change color. The walk turned into a small arts show. It grew. The art and craft show has been very large for the past 20 years.

People come from beyond the Tri-State area for the show, including from New Jersey and South Carolina.

Other craft vendors take advantage of Colorfest, setting up in nearby locations.

Part of the proceeds from Colorfest booth fees will be donated for town projects. Last year's event raised about $15,000. Past Colorfests have raised money for electric lighting, an American flag and flagpole at Community Park; a community Halloween party; new Christmas decorations for the town; scholarships; and donations to Thurmont's fire and rescue companies, Zienda says.

Dance students from the Linda L. Elower School of Dance in Thurmont will perform at 11 a.m. both days at Community Park's basketball court.

If you go ...

WHAT: 43rd annual Catoctin Colorfest

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15

WHERE: Thurmont Community Park on Frederick Road, Guardian Hose Co. activities grounds on East Main Street and in front of Thurmont Middle School on East Main Street in Thurmont, Md., all within walking distance of each other.

COST: Free admission. There is a $5 per car parking fee at designated lots.

MORE: For more information, call 301-271-4432 or go to

Parking will be available at Catoctin High School on Sabillasville Road; the NVR Building and Space Crafters, both on Apples Church Road; and Thurmont Elementary School on East Main Street. There will be signs on U.S. 15 and around town directing people to parking. A shuttle bus will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Frederick Road from Moser Road to Water Street will be closed.

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