PARKERSBURG - Cloudy skies and consistent rain put a damper on the first day of the 50th annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival at City Park on Saturday.
"I've been part of the Harvest Moon festival for a long time and while people have been here, the crowd has been considerably smaller this year than in the past," soap maker Beth Ann Weber, of Marietta, said Saturday afternoon under gray skies.
Betsy Metz, of Friendly, was set up at the Cedar Run Farm crafts and maple syrup stand in one of the large tents and said she has never seen so few people at the event.
Birdhouses made of gourds for sale and on display in one of the tents attracted a number of people to artist Susie Brooker’s Gourds booth on Saturday during the first day of the 51st annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"We've been coming here at least 15 years and this is the slowest first day I can remember," she said. "I'm sure it is the rain, but usually there are so many people in the tents and outside that you can't see or hear much other than them and that's not happening."
John Marlow, with the Wood County Recreation Commission which puts on the Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival, said he and others in the commission were pleased with the turnout, despite Saturday's wet weather.
"We think the turnout has been very well considering the rain," Marlow said. "The fact a few hundred people came out and braved the rain is a testimony to the committee we have and the loyalty people in the area have toward the event."
The rain began around the time of this year's opening at 10 a.m. Saturday and continued - sometimes heavier and sometimes lighter - throughout the day, only ending in the early evening.
"Hopefully the rain will stop and things will dry out in time for (today)," said vendor Peggy Squires of Deerwalk, a basketweaver who has had a booth in the Harvest Moon event for the past five years. "I know traffic has been affected by the weather, but, for me, it has seemed steady."
The festival not only includes several tents with wares from about 175 vendors and demonstrations of wood carving, pottery, soap making and basket weaving, but also food vendors.
The festival will continue today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with general admission at $3 for adults, seniors are $2 and children 10 and younger are free. All proceeds from admission fees go towards programs of the Wood County Recreation Commission.
Weber said she wouldn't let the damp weather affect her weekend.
"The rain and sun with clouds and hot temperatures are all part of having an outdoor festival," she said.