Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show celebrates agricultural traditions

Sep. 10—An Elvis impersonator, a log-chopping contest and a petting zoo were just some of the attractions available Sunday at Catoctin High School, where Thurmont and Emmitsburg residents came together for the 67th annual Community Show.

Organizers say the three-day event, which wrapped up Sunday, is the state's largest community show. It features dozens of booths from community businesses and organizations, plus livestock shows, art exhibitions, auctions of baked goods and displays of traditional techniques like quilting and canning.

Some describe the event as a miniature, hyperlocal version of The Great Frederick Fair.

Rodman Myers, who serves as the show's chair and has helped organize the event for all of its 67 years, said the main goal was bringing the community together. But it's also important to highlight the Catoctin area's agricultural tradition, he said.

"Many young people today don't know anything about farming," Myers said.

Catoctin High seniors Annalise Abruzzese and Ella Burrier were red-faced and dripping with sweat on Sunday after competing in the log-chopping contest. The two worked together, each gripping one end of a crosscut saw, to slice off a piece of wood from a thick trunk as fast as they could.

Abruzzese, who competed in the same event last year, said it was especially hard this time because the logs were wet.

"Everything hurts," Burrier said, laughing. "I'm not exaggerating when I say my heart hurts."

Both Abruzzese, a junior, and Burrier, a senior, have been coming to the community show since they were children. Abruzzese's family shows animals every year, and both girls are heavily involved with the school's FFA club.

They said the event was an important tradition in the area.

"It's not something that every community has," Burrier said. "It's a really cool experience."

Adjacent to the log-chopping contest was a barn filled with cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. Three-year-old Layne Harbaugh, of Smithsburg, snuggled against Oreo, her older sister's black steer.

Twelve-year-old Avery Harbaugh has been showing animals at the community show for four years, said the girls' mother, Dawn. Next week, Avery will be showing at The Great Frederick Fair.

Dawn Harbaugh said the community show was something her family looked forward to.

"They always have a great turnout, and there's a lot of different events for everybody," she said.

Inside the school gymnasium, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird displayed hundreds of historical photographs of the town and played rolls of film from 1947. The video, called "Thurmont on Parade," captured ordinary life in the town, showing people streaming out of churches, walking along Main Street and shopping for furniture.

Nearby, Raymond Ediger sat offering to sign copies of his new book, "Living Loving and Laughing with Animals: The Adventures of a Country Veterinarian."

Ediger, who spent his career making farm calls across the region and has worked on everything from baby birds to full-grown elephants, smiled broadly as he spoke about agriculture in the Thurmont area and Frederick County as a whole.

"It's very important," he said. "It's a wonderful way of life."

Follow Jillian Atelsek on Twitter: @jillian_atelsek