Rain affects local festivals

Published: Oct. 20, 2019 at 6:16 PM EDT
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A soggy Sunday brought some much needed rainfall to the region, but the showers also forced local festivals to make some difficult decisions.

Folks with Roanoke's Go Outside Foundation and Parks and Recreation spent the last year planning the annual Go Outside Festival, so you can imagine how it felt for them when they had to shut down the festival a day earlier than expected.

"The fields are just a little too muddy for the Go Fest-sized crowd, so we made a really tough call," Kait Pedigo, Special Events Supervisor for Play Roanoke Parks and Recreation, said.

Pedigo is also the vendor coordinator for GO Fest. She knew this call wasn't going to come without some people feeling let down.

"Obviously, it's a disappointment for sure. I know a lot of people are really outdoorsy, so we like to play rain or shine, and we definitely appreciate that, but we do really value our infrastructure and our fields, and it's really important for us to protect those," Pedigo added.

However, Sunday's rain is bringing relief to an area that's been facing a drought.

"Rain is great for the rivers, for fishermen, for paddlers; it's great for just general ecosystem health," Pedigo said.

Along with GO Fest, the rain shut down the Layman Family Farms Fall Festival in Bedford County for the day.

"We got two-and-a-half inches of rain . . . wasn't real sure what the weather was going to bring, and it just seemed muddy, and it's not a whole lot of fun for kids to walk around with heavy, muddy feet," Eric Layman, owner of Layman Family Farms, said.

He says this weekend is usually their most popular one.

"It's a shame to close, but we do need some rain," Layman said.

The rain didn't stop the Jeter Farm Fall Festival in Botetourt County from staying open Sunday.

"Well we had so many calls and messages this morning and we also had some birthday parties scheduled, and we were watching the weather forecast, and so we just went with it, I think it's going to pay off," Ned Jeter II, co-organizer of the Jeter Farm Fall Festival, said.

The muddy Sunday forced tough decisions, but also allowed people to find ways to weather the weather.

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