Festival may continue, but with changes

  • Friday, June 29, 2012

Unless new organizers take over the event, the 25th annual Harborwalk Festival, which was held Saturday, will be the last. But, that does not mean Peggy Wayne — who has organized the Harborwalk Festival since 1995 — is out of the festival planning business.
Saturday was the first time the festival was not held on Front Street. Georgetown City Council did not approve it continuing at that location. Mayor Jack Scoville also wanted the date changed from late June to May or another cooler time of year.
Because she did not want the festival to end before its 25th anniversary, Wayne met with county leaders and was given permission to hold it at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex.
Although exact numbers are not available, Wayne says she believes about 5,000 people attended the event at its new location.
“I thought it was perfect,” Wayne said of the festival.
Because it was the first time holding the event at the Marine Complex, there were a few glitches. For example, there were not enough electrical outlets for the vendors so many had to use generators. There was also no shade for people to escape the 90-plus degree heat.

Reaction mixed

Many of those who attended the festival said they like the new location.
Van Owens, a vendor selling dough bowls, has attended previous Harborwalk Festivals and said he liked the Marine Complex better.
“I love it. We have more room,” he said.
Carrie Dennison, at a booth supporting President Barack Obama’s bid for reelection, prefers Front Street.
“It was easier to get to all the vendors,” she said.
Georgetown resident Louise Altman, who has attended the festival almost every year, said the Marine Complex was better because it allowed for a breeze off of the water that is blocked by buildings on Front Street.
“Everything is more accessible here,” she added.
Heather Sweetser, on the Georgetown Times’ Facebook page, said the new location “is much nicer than on Front Street,” while Taylor Jacobs noted the name needs to be changed if it is no longer on Front Street.
“How can it be a Harborwalk Festival if you remove the Harborwalk out of it?” she asked.
 The first Harborwalk Festival — which was supposed to be a one-time event — was held in 1988 to celebrate  the opening of the Harborwalk boardwalk which helped revitalize the downtown area which had been suffering a decline in business for years.
However, the day was such a huge success it was decided to make it an  annual event.

A new festival next year?

While Saturday was likely the final Harborwalk Festival, Wayne has not ruled out the possibility of starting a new festival in 2013.
“I have mixed emotions about it. If we do another one it will not be Harborwalk. We would have to call it something else” Wayne said.
She also said — based on the feedback she has received — a new festival would probably be held at a different, cooler time of year.
She said she would like to the new festival, if there is one, to be held at the Marine Complex but the property that was used is owned by Bob Roberts and is for sale.
“If he sells it we probably could not have it there,” Wayne said. “But I love doing it. I am a planner.”

By Scott Harper

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