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Thorpe foliage attracts tourists

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    VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Josiah White Park bustled with the activity of visitors, vendors, and musicians over the weekend in downtown Jim Thorpe during the annual Fall Foliage Festival.
Published October 12. 2009 05:00PM

The air was filled with music and activity in downtown Jim Thorpe over the weekend as hundreds of visitors came by car and train to enjoy the vibrant fall foliage colors.

Colorful mountainsides were not the only attraction. Free musical entertainment at four locations, as well as arts, crafts, and food vendors were located in Josiah White Park, and throughout the Broadway and Race Street area. Shops and restaurants in the downtown area and the historical sites also welcomed the large crowds.

In addition to the always popular train rides of the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, an excursion train brought more visitors into town on Saturday.

The Fall Foliage Weekends are cochaired by Dan Hugos, Jim Thorpe Chamber president; Mari Gruber; and Michael Guy.

Hugos complimented the police for "the excellent job of keeping the traffic flowing smoothly."

He said that he has heard many comments on the street as to how well it had gone.

"The event has gone very well," said Hugos, adding that people were really enjoying themselves; and the business owners that he had spoken to were "very happy" with the turnout.

Hugos noted that the festival injects both money and people into the town.

"It's events like this that help bring new people into the town," said Hugos, "some of whom in the future may just decide that they would like to start a business of their own here, and not necessarily gift shops and restaurants, but other diverse business ideas such as software developers.

"Jim Thorpe is near the cities, near their markets, it has a great quality of life, good schools, safe streets. All in all, a great place to start your business," said Hugos.

"It is not a town where a few people came in with a lot of money," Hugos added. "It was a lot of people that came here or have lived here for a long time that have worked on their own to fix up their properties."

All of these factors along with the natural beauty, historical importance, and people have helped to make Jim Thorpe the draw that it is, and has helped it earn the designation as one of the "Best Small Towns in the Country."

The Fall Foliage Festival continues on Oct. 17-18, and Oct. 24-25.

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