The 62nd Arts and Crafts Festival of 2014 was a huge success . . . at least on Friday and Saturday morning it was.
And then the rain began.
Warnings of tornadoes and hail caused organizers to call a halt to the traditional weekend of fun. It was the first time in over 20 years the weather caused the 62 year old festival to be cancelled. It was reported that the weekend was expected to generate 11.5 million dollars in our local economy. That’s what happens when you pack 300,000 people into a town where 17,000 live.
But while they could, the crowds swarmed downtown to see the beautiful and always interesting artwork, listen to performing artists and sample delicious foods from either the temporary food court or our own local restaurants. The photo above was from Friday – with not a hint of storms in sight.
To the delight of loyal customers, Mary Ann Nelson, along with her husband John were back in the swing of things, cooking up all their favorites in their charming new location at Pinzone’s Village Deli.
One of our favorite local artists, (and fellow FSU grad) Ron Thompson had a booth and was busy giving demonstrations and sharing information on his upcoming classes.
Many of the vendors had new items we hadn’t seen before, which kept the show interesting. Everyone loved this train, assembled from an old flashlight, nails, washers, a combination lock, and who knows what else!
Thank goodness I ventured out on my new bicycle on Friday, when skies were clear, instead of waiting until Saturday. The weather was perfect for a spin around town, and the Baldwin County Trailblazers kindly monitored everyone’s bicycles while we shopped. I don’t know many other places with a bike valet.
The official tally hasn’t come in yet, but the news is reporting perhaps millions of dollars have been lost by local businesses due to the early end of the festival.
It was fun while it lasted.