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Bright fun at rainy-day Riverfest

By Sydney Paul

9:56 AM EDT, October 9, 2012

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Cold and rainy weather greeted attendees, but did not dampen the mood, at Laurel's 17th annual Riverfest on Sunday, Oct. 7.

The Laurel Board of Trade, Laurel Museum and the Laurel Arts District Committee organized this year's Riverfest, helped out by the new Board of Trade administrative coordinator, Roxana Bangura.

"I'm really pleased with the turnout," Bangura said. " I thought there would be less people because of the inclement weather."

The festival highlighted Laurel's Riverfront Park, which runs alongside the Patuxent River, and offered a variety of arts and food vendors and entertainment stretching from Ninth Street toward Avondale Street. Live music, including performances by youth rock bands, could be heard as families strolled along the trail in their rain boots and wrapped in fall coats.

The vendors that did participate despite the weather displayed an array of arts and crafts, and sold food. Teresa Castracane, a fine art photographer and first-time vendor, was happy with the turnout, even with the chilly weather.

"People are friendly and open and they're interested in looking," said Castracane. "There's not a whole lot of people because of the weather, but we chat and they like the work."

Riverfest's theme this year was "drawing on the past and coloring our future," and the festival brought many elements of the upcoming Halloween holiday, such as an area called Scare Crow Hollow, which housed a patch of homemade scarecrows with decorated pumpkin heads. Some of the other events included a hay ride and a literary performance by a snarling, pointy-eared monster.

Visitors, vendors and festival staff kept moving throughout the festival, not paying much attention to the gloomy clouds overhead or the damper the weather attempted to put on the event. Instead, the food, music and displays provided a pleasant distraction from the day's chilly weather for all in attendance.

"I won't be too discouraged if I don't do well today, let's put it that way, just because the weather isn't cooperating; but it's a fun event," said Castracane.

Sydney Paul is a University of Maryland graduate student.