Despite a rainy start, Saline’s Summerfest finished with a bang, organizers say.
The annual end-of-summer event drew 4,000 people Aug. 10 and 11. Organizers said they saw the numbers they wanted and are already planning for next year’s event.
“Summerfest went really well,” Art Trapp said Monday. Trapp is the president of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce.
The rain hampered the festivities on Friday, but everything turned around the next day, Trapp said.
“This year we had an OK crowd on Friday, but on Saturday it was gangbusters,” he said. “It was wall-to-wall people there for a couple hours on Saturday.”
Saturday’s Summerfest 5K run drew 225 participants, which Trapp said was up over last year.
The Street Machine turnout was smaller as only 50 cars showed up. Last year the event drew 120 vehicles.
“Again that was the rain,” he said. “People don’t like to bring out their baby cars when it’s raining
Other highlights from the event included the teen block party hosted by The Fifth Corner. That event drew 200 young people, Trapp said. The rubber duck race hosted by the Rotary Club also went over well, he said.
The seemingly non-stop bands went over well. The festival uses a two-stage set up where when one band ends a set, another one starts up.
A Caribbean-style group, The Island Guys, brought out the most requests that they be brought back next year.
The tricycle race was hit, Trapp said. Last year’s event drew only 10-12 kids, but this year’s event went well beyond its hour-long run time.
“It was supposed to run from 4:30-5:30,” Trapp said. “I went over there at 6 and they were still doing it.”
Volunteers, Saline Crew key to success
Trapp said the biggest success was the work of the Saline Crew who came in Saturday night to do cleanup.
“We pay for them to do it, but it takes a big load off my volunteers who have been there since early in the morning,” he said.
The Fire Department added a new twist to its barbecue chicken dinner fundraiser. For the first time, people could call ahead and pick up their dinners at the entrance to the parking lot where the festival is primarily held. The department sold 500 dinners overall, with 105 being pickups.
Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said the money from the dinner and savings from past dinners will allow the department to purchases an ATV this winter to fight brush fires.
As for next year, Trapp said the layout of the festival will likely change to maximize efficiency. Other improvements will be permanent electrical hookups to eliminate people having to step over cords.
Summerfest began more than 20 years ago when school began before Labor Day. It was designed to give people a chance to get the parents and children together for one last weekend before school started. The festival began downtown, before moving out to the Mill Pond for several years.
Trapp was hired to restore the festival to its original glory. That was in 2006 and when he took over, the volunteers had nearly disappeared and conditions at the Mill Pond just didn’t quite fit. So the party came back downtown and Trapp has built a corps of 20 volunteers who each has their own responsibility.
“We do it and it comes off pretty well,” he said.