ELYRIA — When the rain fell, so did Apple Festival attendance.
Festival Chairwoman and President Linda Brown said Sunday that she didn’t have crowd estimates for the three-day festival that began Friday, but they varied drastically depending on the rain, which occurred Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. When the weather is good, she said between 70,000 and 80,000 people attend the festival over a three-day period.
“The rain did deplete the crowds and then it built back up,” Brown said. “This was probably one of our worst times for weather.”
Brown, chairwoman of the festival board of directors since 2007, has good perspective.
She helped organize the first festival, which was held in 1981. It snowed the first day that year, and the festival — whose name is a tribute to area apple growers — lost money, according to the festival website.
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Organizers persevered and the event has become a staple of the community, featuring between 100 and 120 booths, food, family-oriented activities, and games and music. The nonprofit festival board spends any profits from the event on improvements to Ely Square, including work on the clock, fountain and gazebo.
Brown thanked attendees, some of whom braved bad weather.
“The public really does support us,” she said. “No matter what the weather is, we try not to shut down.”
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