Thousands respond as weather treats Cranberry Festival right

2011-09-19 / The Derrick
AMY WOZNIAK Staff writer

Morrison Park was greeted with warm weather, a full range of activities and a turnout of thousands of people Saturday for the Cranberry Festival.

“You have to come early to get a good seat,” said Mamie Holben of Cooperstown.

Holben was tailgating behind a 1929 Ford Roadster with some other friends who were showcasing their cars for the festival’s car show. Some of the group’s cars included a 1967 Ford Faraway, a 1986 Chevy pickup truck and a 1971 Chevelle.

Pat (seated) and Art Tubbs of Youngsville show off their 1929 Ford roadster at the Cranberry Festival. The couple tailgated behind the Roadster with some local friends who also were showing cars.

Lisa Groner, festival chair, said the turnout for the car show was biggest festival organizers have ever seen with more than 170 antique and muscle cars and trucks, which came and went throughout the day. “I think we had a record turnout in cars,” Groner said.

In addition to the car show, the festival featured a variety of artisans and crafters who could be seen making their merchandise on site. Amy Leichliter of Franklin was busy making what she called her Applefest basket that she plans to sell at the upcoming Applefest festival in Franklin.

Amy Leichliter of Franklin is one of many artisans who showcased their wares at the Cranberry Festival. She was weaving a basket for another upcoming festival, Applefest.

“It ended up being a really nice day,” Leichliter said of the festival’s weather.

Jo Young of Oil City purchased some crystal hangings from Jean Schwab of Knox at the festival. The festival featured a variety of vendors selling arts and crafts.

Jean Schwab of Knox said she’s been to the Cranberry Festival in the past and plans to return. “I like Morrison Park. It’s a good sell,” Schwab said.

Beside the items that were for sale, a major draw to the Cranberry Festival is what isn’t for sale. The Kids Corner offers games and activities for children at no cost.

“It’s all free and with the economy it’s without a doubt the best value for a family,” Groner said.

Grayson Dumpe of Cleveland enjoys a can of soda and some festival food. Church groups and organizations had a variety of food available to people enjoying the festival.

The Kids Corner offered wood projects for children to construct with accompanying adults, temporary tattoos, temporary hair color, inflatable amusements, sidewalk chalk and a car they could paint however they chose.

Rick and Cathy Williams of Oil City took their grandson, Andrew Williams of Rocky Grove, to the festival and were impressed by the amount of children’s activities and said they’d return.

Children of all ages enjoyed the Redneck Backwoods Olympics. One such event included shoveling apples and hay into a wheelbarrow and racing that wheelbarrow between hay bails to the top of a hill. Once contestants got to the top of the hill they had to throw a horse saddle onto a barrel, hop on and give their best “Yee-haw.” Contestants had to race back down the hill and ring a cowbell. The person with the best time was the winner.

Because organizers estimated the attendance was between 5,000-7,000, they addressed parking issues by having parking police for the grounds at Morrison Park and having a shuttling system for any overflow parking. Additional parking was directed to Seneca United Methodist Church and Seneca Volunteer Fire Department.

The only thing in short supply at the the festival was scarecrows. Each year the festival features a scarecrow contest. In past years, the festivals has had many scarecrows, but this year there were only three.

Groner said she thinks “people were too busy” this year for the contest, but organizers aren’t giving up on the contest as it’s been successful in the past.

Groner said they hope the contest will grow to be a much anticipated tradition for the festival.

Overall, Groner said organizers are pleased with this year’s festival. “It’s very good. The weather was good.”

Rion Johnson of Oil City builds a tugboat with his mom, Cathie Johnson of Ohio. Children had fun building various wood projects. The Kids Corner is a major draw to the festival with all activities and items being free.