Stormy weather cuts Gwynn’s Island Festival short

Charlie Koenig - Posted on Jun 30, 2010 - 05:44 PM

In spite of an approaching storm on Saturday that cut the festivities short, the 62nd annual Gwynn’s Island Festival was still a success, according to event organizers.

"We had a wonderful festival … the music was new and different and good," Cricket Call said, although she conceded that crowds were down somewhat, in part due to the hot weather. There was something for everybody, from the moon walk and arts and crafts for the youngsters, to entertainment, vendors and information booths. "We had a good time," Call said.

Photo: Juniper Green, a new duo performing both original and cover songs, played for the crowds at the Gwynn’s Island Festival on Saturday afternoon. Talented teens Luke Andrews, front, and Matt Sease, make up the ensemble. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Juniper Green, a new duo performing both original and cover songs, played for the crowds at the Gwynn’s Island Festival on Saturday afternoon. Talented teens Luke Andrews, front, and Matt Sease, make up the ensemble. Photo by Charlie Koenig

"Our volunteers worked hard in mighty hot weather. Our musicians stepped up to fill in the extra time for some who couldn’t come. Our vendors served us smoothly and cheerfully. Our guests enjoyed a fine time," said Gwynn’s Island Civic League president Carol Sharp.

Around 2 p.m., with dark clouds and thunder and lightning on the horizon, Call and Sharp made the decision to "get the heck out of Dodge" and have the vendors pack up and leave, Call said.

Photo: Sarah Jane Wheeler, 2, of Richmond, enjoys a bounce in the moon walk in the children’s area of Saturday’s Gwynn’s Island Festival. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Sarah Jane Wheeler, 2, of Richmond, enjoys a bounce in the moon walk in the children’s area of Saturday’s Gwynn’s Island Festival. Photo by Charlie Koenig

As it was, the storm dumped loads of rain between Foster and Ward’s Corner, but barely touched Gwynn’s Island, Call said. However, the decision was made "because you never know," she said. "If that (storm) had come here and the tents had been set up, we would have had a horrible time."

Everyone came together to break down the tents and evacuate the festival grounds. "Everybody went calmly, carefully," Call said. "The vendors were fantastic. The visitors pitched in and helped pack up people’s goodies."

Photo: After Six performed under the gazebo on Saturday morning. Here, Phil Johnson sings, accompanied by Don Johnson (guitar), Don Jaeger (drums) and Barbara Williams (keyboards). The group, favorites at the Gwynn’s Island Festival, played a selection of standards. Photo by Charlie Koenig

After Six performed under the gazebo on Saturday morning. Here, Phil Johnson sings, accompanied by Don Johnson (guitar), Don Jaeger (drums) and Barbara Williams (keyboards). The group, favorites at the Gwynn’s Island Festival, played a selection of standards. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Because of the unexpected end of the festival, a decision was made to put off the drawing for the 50/50 raffle until July 4. To increase the prize amount for the eventual winner (as well as the share for the Gwynn’s Island Festival), tickets will continue to be sold until the drawing. From 10 a.m. to noon Friday, tickets will be sold in front of Best Value supermarket. Anyone wanting to buy tickets can also call Call at 725-7577.

"This festival reminds me that I am fortunate to live in a community with so many wonderful people," Sharp said. "I hope you are all back for the 63rd festival next year."

The festival started on Friday evening with the "world famous" chicken dinner, which was well attended. "Everybody ranted and raved about how good the food was," Call said.