Vendors, festival goers weather soggy Strawberry Days
The air was thick with moisture and the ground was spongy, swelling from all the rain as the mellow folk music of Umberto Fonte echoed from the main stage on the final day of Glenwood Springs’ Strawberry Days festival Sunday.
For most artists and vendors at this year’s festival, business has been an up and down experience — just like the weather.
“It’s definitely affected people showing up. When the sun has been out, it has been wonderful with lots of people around. But every time the rain hits, people scatter,” said second-year vendor Jordan Testerman, owner of Testerman Woodworks, based in Rifle.
“It’s been good, though. We’d stick it out no matter what,” Testerman said.
On the final day of the 122nd annual festival, the crowds were up with a steady stream of people strolling through Sayre Park, even as dark clouds and the occasional sprinkle remained in the valley.
Another second-year vendor and owner of Noreen Art, Jennie Noreen of Buena Vista, said Sunday has been her best day of the festival.
“Yesterday [Saturday] was really slow. It rained off and on all day long,” she said. “It was kind of dreary. The mood was down all over the festival, and people were glum.”
With rain and thunderstorms passing through most of the weekend, some vendors have taken it harder than others.
First-year vendor but long-time festival goer Ondine Wilson of Glenwood Springs, owner of Woodinwire, said things started out a little rough after losing two tents in Thursday’s microburst that whipped through the park.
Other artists, including Eric Dorris, owner of Eric Dorris Design, and Noreen said they were lucky and didn’t set up until after Thursday’s big storm.
“We didn’t get here until Friday morning, so we luckily avoided that microburst,” Noreen said.
For Dorris, who is back after a few years absence, business has fared better than his last trip to Strawberry Days.
“It’s been a little bit better than 2016. The weather was perfect, (but) this year is a little better than that one,” Dorris said. “It’s OK, considering the weather. The rain always hurts a little bit.”
With the sun popping in and out from the clouds Sunday, Wilson worked on a few new pieces of handcrafted jewelry in between a steady flow of customers.
She said Friday and Saturday were a bit different.
“It has been quiet. It was sunny, and there were tons of people here, and I was getting lots of traffic, lots of folks in here looking at stuff, making some sales.
“It rained, and that was it,” Wilson said. “My experience coming to Strawberry Days is that it is shoulder to shoulder. It hasn’t been like that at all this year.”
Wilson said she receives sales reports from Square, and from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday she had a huge spike. After that, there was nothing the rest of the day.
“It’s my first festival. I’m not going to complain about it. There is not much you can do about it … just have to make the most of it,” Wilson said.
Testerman said people are just naturally deterred by the weather.
“Yesterday, with the parade, we had beautiful weather in the morning so there was a lot of people here. But once that weather turned, there was a lot less population,” Testerman said.
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