2012 Cowanesque Valley Outdoor Festival
From an outsider’s point of view, the 2012 certainly didn’t appear to be a success, as less than 200 attended with weather being the major factor. There were two bouts of high winds and torrential rains which caused the festival to close shortly after noon, as weather reports continued to say more of the same - or worse - was on the way.
What you missed: Carol McLean did a great talk on the NASA Space Projects and Jeff Boyer and Sadie Green Sales put on amazing shows for those brave souls that came out to enjoy the day despite the weather.
The MU Student String Quartet, Country Fever Band, Jeff Wilson (aka Gen. Thomas Jackson) and Penny Eckman were all very disappointed they were not able to perform, as was the audience.
The vendors were equally disappointed, as they put a lot of time and money into preparing their booths for the day, and some came from a distance.
We all weathered the first two storms with minimum damage and injury (one vendor's canopy broke and another vendor sustained a head bruise when her canopy collapsed on her, which, at that point I invited all vendors to seek shelter under the Big Top). But I wasn't convinced we would even survive if a third storm hit. Weather reports streaming from the internet predicted more storms - and tornadoes - were on the way. Images from the tornadoes that hit Knoxville and the Indiana State Fair in 2011 drained the gambler right out of me by then and the responsibility was mine alone to bear. The rain continued to come down in buckets throughout Sadie Green Sales performance and I had to put safety of those present above everything else and so when the show ended I called it a day and everyone packed up and went home. The irony of that was, the worst was already over, at least in the Westfield area. If only one could truly know what lies in store where the weather is concerned.
Sure, some were down-right mad at the decision I made, but from my point of view, it could have been much worse, by far. Aside from minimum water damage, nothing was flooded, only a few vehicles needed to be pushed out of the mud (one poor fellow who helped ended up looking like the Legend of Boggy Creek as spinning rear wheels covered him from head to toe). But the Big Top tent held (with some help), and no one received serious injury or was killed. And that is what made the day, in my book, a success.
Oh, and for those of you who bought Chinese Auction Tickets, members of the CV Joint Chamber will be drawing the winners on Monday, Sept. 10th and the winning numbers will be posted on the website, facebook, and the local papers. Keep watch to claim your prizes.
A special thank you goes out to the Fred Elwell, Pioneer Landscape, Crary Hose Fire Department and the Tioga County Fire Police for being there to help as needed.
Mark your calendar now and let’s hope 2013 is a kinder, gentler year for the CV Outdoors Festival, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 7.
CJ Houghtaling, CV Outdoors Festival Coordinator