Summer Festival comes calling

Published 6:11 am Sunday, June 10, 2007

By Staff
Heat doesn’t deter crowds from flocking to waterfront
News Editor
The Summer Festival beckoned crowds to Washington’s waterfront Saturday, offering plenty to see, do and eat — for those who were willing to battle the heat.
As heat indices hovered at or above 100 degrees during the weekend, attendees acknowledged the event’s theme, “Summertime’s Calling Me,” and did what they could to stay cool, relying on handheld fans or various frozen concoctions.
Ysobel Litchfield held an umbrella that featured a Renoir painting, shielding herself and her granddaughter, 4-year-old Nellie Williams, from the afternoon sun. Litchfield, who’s from Washington, said she wouldn’t miss the festival.
Meanwhile, young Williams, who’s from Raleigh, munched on a bag of popcorn. But she had something else on her mind.
Her grandmother nodded. “We haven’t made it that far down yet,” Litchfield said.
Later in the evening, Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette presented hometown boy Woolard with a key to the city in a surprise ceremony just before he and his band started their set.
Jennette said Woolard “has never forgotten his hometown … for which we are all very grateful.”
Momentarily stunned, Woolard finally replied, “You don’t know just how cool this is, y’all.”
From funnel cakes to frog legs and softshell crabs to sausage, there was plenty of festival fare to be had.
Mount Airy husband-and-wife team Dale and Trish Walker offered handcut, deep-fried potato chips from their stand, aptly named Mayberry Concessions. But their biggest seller by midafternoon was frozen lemonade.
His wife said their lemonade’s secret ingredient is fresh-squeezed lemons.
The Walkers, who had owned a restaurant, took to the concession business full-time about five years ago.
A little farther down Stewart Parkway, Sue Dovaston peddled something entirely different to eat — something targeted to bodies with feathers.
The Incredible Edible Birdhouse is designed to attract a variety of birds, including wrens, she said.
Her husband Barry builds cedar birdhouses, which are then rolled in peanut butter. She then decorates the houses using seven different kinds of seeds, natural wheat and dried straw flowers.
The weekend event was the 24th annual festival. It was organized by the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. As many as 25,000 people were expected to attend.