Despite weather, crowds converge on Summerville for the 2010 Flowertown Festival

The Flowertown Festival seems to get bigger every year, and 2010 is no exception. Although few azaleas have bloomed this year, the crowds came in large numbers all three days for the 38th annual event. The festival is sponsored and directed by the Summerville Family YMCA.

ìI feel like it was very successful for everyone,î YMCA Special Events Director Linda Walton said. ìIt gets larger every year.î

Walton said Friday went well for vendors and drew a larger crowd than usual. ìEverything went very smoothly. Weíre very happy,î she said.

ìThe town came together with the YMCA for one of the best festivals weíve had,î YMCA CEO Gary Lukridge said. ìThere was a lot of help from the town, the people and the community to put this on. Everything went smoothly.î

ìFriday was good, there was steady traffic all day,î Clay Press vendor Dottie Rizzo said. She crafts handmade pottery and clay jewelry, pendants and earrings. ìSaturday was the largest day for me. I think the weather helped out.î

Other than a few hiccups, the festival seems to have turned out well.

The festival had to close an hour early Sunday due to the threat of a thunderstorm. All transactions officially stopped at 3 p.m. Police monitored the weather from the mobile command post near Town Hall. Summerville Police notified the YMCA of the weather, followed emergency preparedness plans to keep the crowd safe and said all rides and transactions had to stop, Walton said.

Police rode by on motorcycles shouting that the festival was ending and that vendors had to shut down.

Some patrons were upset because they didnít get refunds for tickets they bought for childrenís rides and Taste of Summerville food booths.

ìItís unfortunate,î Lukridge said. ìWeíll see what we can do and will see what weíve done in the past.î

Tickets are one dollar each and rides are contracted out, he said. Rides generally take three to four tickets per ride. Taste of Summerville tickets required one or two tickets for food items, according to Lukridge.

In a separate incident, two adults and seven juveniles were arrested after a large fight occurred Saturday afternoon minutes before the festival closed. Police officials said all parties were charged with disorderly conduct and both adults were also charged with assault.