Although wet and cold weather kept many folks away on Saturday, the Waterford Fair drew large crowds on both Friday and Sunday as fairgoers welcomed the return of the craft fair and homes tour.
The 72-year-old fair was cancelled for the first time last year because of Hurricane Joaquin, and for a while organizers held their collective breaths last week as it looked as if a repeat scenario was coming their way.
Fearful of the predicted Hurricane Matthew impacts, Friday’s ticket sales saw a noticeable spike as fairgoers rushed to make sure they got at least one good day at the fair. And even on Saturday, a surprising number of diehards turned out, well protected against the weather. Sunday was a beautiful day, sunny fall day.
Overall, organizers were pleased with the event’s return. “Turnout has been ever better than we hoped,” Waterford Foundation Executive Director Tom Kuehhas stated, adding the 2016 fair was made possible through a $150,000 grant from Loudoun County.
First-time Fair Director Tracy Kirkman was happy this morning, quoting a vendor’s comment: “If we’d had weather like yesterday on Saturday it would have been gangbusters.” Overall, she said, the artisan vendors reported good sales. One vendor said it was his best Friday since 2010, and the 29 new craftspeople were impressed with the event.
Another plus was the number of first-time visitors. “There were lots of new faces and new interest—and that was one of our goals this year,” Kirkman said. Popular new features included local wine and beer tastings and a chefs’ tasting.
Perhaps the most appreciated new offering was the shuttle service that ferried fairgoers to and from the parking lots.
Other than Saturday’s wet and soggy conditions—and walnuts that came crashing down in various areas in Sunday’s high winds—it was a good weekend, Kirkman said.
“I see lots of room for improvement,” she said, “but last night I felt really happy—and I’m looking forward to next year.”