Summerfest celebrates third year


Mild weather, sparse crowds, live music and smells of hamburgers and brisket wafting through Town Park made for an enjoyable, if mellow, Summerfest festival in Hayden on Saturday afternoon, vendors said.

"It's just a pleasant atmosphere -- you've got good entertainment -- what more could you ask for, except free food," joked Glenn Pritchard of Craig who, with his wife, Audrey, sold handmade jewelry and antler crafts at the festival.

The Pritchards were among several craft vendors who didn't mind that business was a little slow.

"If I didn't sell a thing, I'd still enjoy it because of the music," said Lana McFadden, who was selling kites, windsocks and Summerfest T-shirts.

McFadden helped brainstorm the festival with Hayden Recreation Coordinator Lindsay Heer, who organized the event, now in its third year.

Part of the impetus for planning Summerfest was to give area artists a venue to display their wares, McFadden said.

There's been a high turnover of vendors at the event, but it is in the experimental stages, and McFadden said she expects that more artists will jump on board as the festival gains popularity.

To attract more attendees and participants, organizers planned the festival about a week ahead of last year's Summerfest, which was on the Fourth of July.

But the event seemed less busy than last year, said Bob LaFord of Craig as he listened to 3-Wire, one of several bands and entertainers that performed throughout the day.

Threatening clouds on the horizon may have been the reason for fewer people, said LaFord, who expected more people would show up later in the day.

In addition to live music, the festival also featured children's activities, comedian Washboard Annie and magician Rob Walker.

"We think it's great," Barbara Kelton of Hayden said about Summerfest after seeing the We're Not Clowns juggling act. It was the second Summerfest she had attended with her husband, Jerry Kelton.

While vendors would like to see more people at the event, its laid-back atmosphere also is what sets it apart from larger and more hectic summer festivals.

"The smaller shows are a lot more pleasant. ... You may make more money at the bigger ones, but there are nicer people here," Glenn Pritchard said.

The Pritchards sell their goods at between eight and 10 arts festivals each year. Friendly customers and camaraderie with other vendors help offset a tough business, made difficult by a sluggish economy and competition from vendors selling inexpensive imported products.

If attendees weren't in the mood to buy crafts, they were in the mood to eat. Robyn Boeckmann, owner of the Full Belly Deli, was among several food vendors busy serving pizza, hamburgers and chicken and brisket sandwiches throughout the afternoon.

At the event's peak, there was a crowd of about 200 people, Heer said. Though attendance was down a bit from last year, she was happy with this year's festival.

The dark clouds didn't produce anything but a few sprinkles, which may have kept some people away, she said.

"All and all it was a beautiful day and the attendance was good," Heer said.


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