Mayfest provides a return to normal

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After more than a year of seeing events called off or cancelled, crowds flocked to the streets for the annual Mayfest parade Friday evening. While the number of participants was closer to years past, it was an opportunity for folks to get out, according to Jackie Wengert, executive director of the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Friday was fabulous and compared to the 10-day forecast prior to Mayfest what we had on Saturday was great,” Wengert said. “People didn’t know what it was going to be like so they came out Friday night and came out in droves. We knew that Saturday no matter what the weather was (like) was going to be lighter.”
“I’d be afraid to estimate how many people came up to us and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you. We needed this. We needed something that was normal again. We needed to get out.’ We had people calling last week, (asking) ‘Are you really gonna have it, Are you really gonna have it?’”
“The parade was about average,” Wengert said. “I think everything went really well, and it seemed like everyone enjoyed it, had a lot of good comments about it, so we’re happy about that.”
For food options, there were 10 vendors, Wengert said, and they did superbly well.
“Some of them opened around noon, prior to the streets getting shut down,” she said. “Food vendors had an awesome weekend. Several of them ran out of food Friday night and Saturday night before closing. We just didn’t know how many people were gonna come out. Friday night was wonderful.”
The evening festivities closed down at 11 p.m.
For the carnival down by the American Legion parking lot, there were long lines shortly after the parade wrapped up.
“Friday night was a huge night for them, it was big down there,” Wengert said.
The Chamber sold approximately two-thirds of pre-sale tickets ahead of time
That option was cheaper than purchasing carnival tickets the day of the event, Wengert said.
“We said Friday was going to be our big day because we didn’t know what Saturday was going to bring,” Wengert said.
For those attending the carnival, armbands were available Wednesday through Friday, with tickets only on Saturday.
Saturday events began with the craft fair at 9 a.m. A total of 64 vehicles were signed up for the car show in front of the Knights of Columbus parking lot. The diaper derby had two participants.
“The craft fair went good,” Wengert said. “We had a few (vendors) that didn’t show because they thought it was going to be bad. I’m sad (for them) because it ended up being a good day.”
Rain wasn’t going to be a deterrent for the craft fair, according to Wengert.
“Our craft fair is so well known that when people come, they come to buy,” she said.
Two years ago, Wengert said it rained all day for the craft rain. However, Wengert said the crafters that stayed did great.
This year, it was a success for those that participated, according to Wengert.
“I think (the vendors) they did really well,” she said.
A light rain started at about 9 a.m. but that only led to overcast skies for the remainder of the morning.
“For a Mayfest, that rain we had (on Saturday), we don’t even count it,” she said.
Despite dire weather predictions and results the event never gets called off, Wengert said. Since the event began in the mid-1980s the only year it got cancelled was 2020 and “that’s because we were not allowed to have it.”

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