Organizers of the annual Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival estimate this year’s event was the largest ever.
“We could’ve used another shuttle, that’s how busy we were. The crafters were selling their merchandise, and a lot of the food vendors ran out of food Saturday afternoon. ... It was a fabulous Saturday,” Festival Chairwoman Kitty Strode said.
The weekend’s festivities started Friday night with the annual street dance in front of the courthouse with performances by Custom Made and Higher Ground. Saturday began with the annual 5K race, followed by the Walk with Friends and music and arts and crafts at College Park. Although race participation was down, something Strode said may have been due to rain in the forecast, crowds flocked to the park. By late in the afternoon, many food vendors had sold out, and craft vendors were pleased with the amount of merchandise they were able to sell, Strode said.
“This was a wonderful day for them. A lot of them had the best Saturday they’ve had all summer, and a
lot of them said it was the best Saturday they’ve ever had at the Daniel Boone Festival,” Strode said.
On Sunday morning, motivational speaker and evangelist Chad Varga led church services at College Park. Varga previously led a youth rally at George Rogers Clark High School, and Strode said a large group of parents came to the park to hear Varga’s message.
Although Clark County missed the rain on Saturday, crowds at the Sunday night concert at Lykins Park had to brave the weather to see Hunter Hayes, Casey James and local performer Lauren Mink. Organizers feared they would have to cancel the concert for the second year in a row because of the inclement weather, but the performers were able to take the stage.
“Sunday night obviously was a difficult situation, but all three bands got up and performed,” Strode said.
Crowds were down slightly, but James and Hayes have devoted fan bases that started arriving at the park at 1 p.m. for the 5:30 p.m. concert, Strode said.
“When you have one of these weekends, if you can get through everything without any rain, you’re very fortunate, but that’s hard to do,” Strode said.
The evening ended with a fireworks show, a Labor Day weekend tradition.
Volunteers worked all weekend to help keep everything running smoothly, from picking up trash to unloading sound equipment.
“My work crew, I can’t say enough about them. ... You have a great appreciation for this community,”¿Strode said.
Overall, Strode said, the weekend was a success.
“The main thing you want is new people to come into this community and spend money at our motels, restaurants, and gas stations, and for our civic clubs and organizations to make money,” Strode said. “I think anybody would tell you it was a great weekend in Winchester and Clark County.”
The Winchester Labor Day Celebration at Harmon Field also had a good turnout for festivities over the weekend as well, according to committee member Flora Shelby.
The celebration was moved to Harmon Field on Meadow Street for the first time in many years, which Shelby said helped boost attendance.
“I really think having it in Harmon Field again was good and we had a nice turnout Saturday and the weather held off and everyone had a good time,”¿Shelby said. “The families with children especially liked having it at the park because there were more activities for the children as well as the adults, and we had a very big turnout for the basketball tournaments.”
The weather also cooperated for the popular annual Labor Day Parade Monday, which drew a large crowd, Shelby said. Ariel Wortham was crowned the 2012 Labor Day Queen during festivities on Sunday.
Sun staff writer Bob Flynn contributed to this report.