Summer Fest was hot ticket

Published 10:35 pm Sunday, June 13, 2010

Staff Writer

Stifling heat baked visitors to the Washington Summer Festival Saturday morning, pushing them to waterfront vendors and Main Street restaurants in search of relief in the form of iced beverages and frozen dairy treats.
A slow-but-steady stream of patrons filed into the festival between 11 a.m. and noon, centering mainly on Stewart Parkway and public green space near the N.C. Estuarium.
The crowds were expected to thicken later in the evening as temperatures gradually cooled down from a forecast high in the lower 90s and music filled the air around the PotashCorp main stage.
Julie Hicks, an attendant at the Washington Visitor Center at the corner of Water and Market streets, said about 21 people had stopped in the center by late morning.
Of those 21 people, around half were from out of town, Hicks said.
Over on the green space, Tonya Scott was taking in the amusement rides with her two children, 4-year-old Jacob and 10-year-old Andrew.
“It’s hot, but it’s nice,” Scott said as Jacob rode a sort of merry-go-round of colorful dinosaurs.
“They’ve had fun,” the mother said of her two boys.
On the opposite end of Stewart Parkway, Susie Harding sold produce for Southside Farms at an outdoor farmer’s market, which had been moved from its usual place on the waterfront to just off Gladden Street because of the festival.
“It’s slow, but we have our regular customers that still come out,” Harding said, soon adding she was glad for the shade of a close-by tree.
On Water Street, Susan Pickens, of Sentimental Susan fame, was busy greeting customers and acting as a sort of impromptu tour guide in her shop.
“It’s public-relations time,” Pickens joked, relating that she had been directing people to the visitor center and handing out free shark’s teeth.
“I’m doing really good,” she said of her vintage-items-and-framing business, adding that she was using the opportunity to promote the town by pointing out places of interest to newcomers.
In addition to carnival rides, crafts and food vendors, Saturday’s activities included music, a Potash fossil search for the children, a beer garden for the adults and more.
The festival was to wrap up Saturday night with a live performance by the Nantucket Band on the Potash stage from 8:30 to 10.