Summer Festival brings rides, food, crowds to Washington|Attendance better in evenings,but attendees call gathering fun

Published 1:40 am Sunday, June 14, 2009

Staff Writer

Crowds packed Stewart Parkway at times during the weekend for Washington’s Summer Festival.
The Friday evening crowd was densely packed, for example, but during the heat of the day Saturday attendance was relatively sparse.
Billy Johnson, of Washington, was having a good time, though.
“I enjoying coming out here and looking at the people, eating some food, seeing the music, spending some time away from work,” he said.
Sharon Watts, of Pantego, was at the festival for the first time.
“I just wanted to see what this was all about,” she said.
And what did she think?
“It seems pretty nice, well organized,” she said.
Dan Venuto, of Greenville, thought the festival was “great.” He was in town Saturday afternoon with his wife Laurie and 9-month-old son Jake.
“I like to come for the food,” he said. “Festival food I call it.”
Venuto was particularly happy to be dining on turkey legs and funnel cakes.
One festival food stand doing well Saturday was the Wanoca Presbyterian Church’s barbecue and hamburger stand.
“It’s going great,” said Carla Mills. “It’s been really busy.”
This year festival organizers tried to revive the festival’s family appeal in part by using more local vendors for things like food. So, while traveling sellers continued to market fair-and-carnival classics like funnel cake and turkey legs, local groups sold regional fundraiser staples like hot dogs and barbecue.
The church planned to sell 250 pounds of pork shoulder during the festival, which Mills said will probably be the church’s only fund raiser all year.
Heather Cherry, of Washington, was operating a booth at the festival for the first time.
She was selling hair bows. Business was only O.K., she said. But she said she was enjoying the work.
“It’s Washington, so you get see a lot of people that you haven’t in a long time,” she said. “You get to catch up. It’s fun being in the community,” she said.