Rain falls but crowd stays at Crossing Festival

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Glendale visitors shuck off weather to browse selections

By Marty Finley

Downtown Glendale’s rustic landscape was dotted with umbrellas Saturday morning as a steady fall rain fell on the town’s annual Crossing Festival.


Its attendees — wet but far from dismayed — embraced the soggy ambiance as they drifted hurriedly through the crowds, still thick despite less-than-ideal weather.

Mary Byrne, Nancy Barrier and Amy Littrell carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the elements and to protect their cargo — three identical outdoor fall decorations littered with smiling pumpkins.

“Actually, this is the kind of thing we’re looking for,” Byrne said.

Littrell said the handmade craft was one of the first items to catch the trio’s eye because of its distinctive look.

“That’s something different,” she said.

They traveled from the Lexington area to take in the Crossing Festival after being awed by its wares a previous year, Byrne said.

Though undeterred by the rain, Littrell said the gem she was looking for most in the milky morning haze was “sunshine.”

Visitors hung firmly to the streets as they marched through downtown, a large line of patrons overflowing out of the Whistle Stop restaurant early.

Off the concrete, galleries of poncho-wearing visitors waded through the muddy slush underneath their feet to sample the rows of arts and craft booths: handmade quilts, purses, wood working and holiday decorations could quickly be found.

Vendors also rushed to protect valuables and steady tarps they rigged to protect their booths from the pull of the wind.

Vendor Carl Beams stood near a walkway just inside of his booth, rubbing his hands together as he sought to harness warmth from a portable heater and cut the chill of the day.

“Well, it really hurt it bad,” Beams said when asked how the weather affected foot traffic. Pointing to the thinned masses, he said the crowds are usually so thick you can barely walk until the end of day during a drier year.

His own wood work would be fine against the elements, but he said the lights inside his booth and the wreaths his wife makes could be damaged if not properly protected.

Like most that made the trip, Beams was hoping the weather forecast, which called for a clearing by noon, would prove true.

“We’ve got 15 more minutes, but they’ve been wrong before,” he said.

In the midst of the rain, a trio of women browsed in matching yellow rainsuits from head to toe.

“We’re the ducklings today,” said Louisville resident Melissa Speed, accompanied by her daughter, Amaree, 2.

Though color-coordinated, the loud attire was not by choice, they said.

“We didn’t come prepared,” Speed said. “We stopped and bought all of this on the way.”

They make the Crossing Festival an annual excursion and had no intentions of turning around and going home, said Belinda Wright.

“That’s why we bring a cart because we usually fill it up,” Wright said. “We haven’t been here very long. We haven’t even gotten started yet.”

Buffalo vendor Kevin Vance could later be found adjusting the green tarp atop the booth he shares with his wife, Myra, who designs quilts, bibs, receiving blankets and “little monsters” stuffed animals as part of her business.

A deluge is enough to make a visit disastrous for some, but the Vances said they were highly enjoying their first time setting up at the Crossing Festival.

They rolled up the tarp, which Myra Vance said allowed more light to fall into her booth, even if it failed to rope in customers.

“We knew it was going to rain, but not this much,” Kevin Vance said.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@