The rain which left Harford County a sodden mess in recent days held off long enough for organizers to hold a successful sixth annual Graw Days Festival to celebrate Havre de Grace's time as a major destination for horse racing.
"I thought it went surprisingly well, considering the weather was so threatening," Bill Price, co-chairman of Graw Days, said.
Havre de Grace Main Street Inc., the nonprofit organization charged with maintaining and promoting downtown Havre de Grace's character as a destination, was the main sponsor of Saturday's event.
Price is a member of the Main Street group's board; he co-chaired the event with Victoria Tanner.
He estimated 2,000 to 3,000 attended, a crowd he called "modest" compared to prior years, but considering the weather, said "I'm a happy man."
Saturday was cloudy with mild temperatures, and a golden sunset could be seen through the clouds looking west on Pennington Avenue, a block of which was closed off for the "Speakeasy," the main stage where patrons could take in period music, see re-enactors in 1920s costumes and purchase beer, wine and food from downtown Havre de Grace vendors.
The Great Paboo of India and his assistant, Pabette, also offered palm readings in the Speakasy.
Price noted more than 1,000 people took in "History @ The Bank," displays on local horse racing history and artifacts from racing in the early 20th century that were available at La Banque de Fleuve, the restored 1904 building on St. John Street, the former home of First National Bank.
"For that history area to get that many people is pretty significant," Price said.
John and Linda Jensen of the Grace Harbor subdivision walked up to the gates of the Speakeasy area in anticipation of evening musical entertainment from the Swingin' Swamis.
"Whenever there's something going on in town, like First Fridays or Graw Days, we try to come out and support local business," Linda Jensen said.
Visitors could also stroll along Washington Street, several blocks of which were closed, and patronize the downtown shops, and check out children's activities in the "Little Rascals Roundup" on Congress Avenue such as a "Pumpkin Chucking," where adults and children competed to see who could throw a ripe pumpkin the farthest.
Matt Sober of Carlisle, Pa., won a small golden thumbs-up trophy in the adult category, and his 6-year-old son, Nathan, won in his age group.
He, his wife Rebecca and their children were in Havre de Grace to visit Rebecca's sister, Lisa Barber, who lives in town.
"It's actually pretty cool," Barber said of Graw Days.
She said the family would typically be at a soccer tournament, but the games were canceled because of the rain.
Roslyn Tillman, who lives on Aberdeen Proving Ground, made her way along Washington Street, her 13-year-old daughter, Kayla Scott ,by her side, and pushing her 22-month-old son, Isaiah Evans, in a stroller.
The toddler played with a toy truck his mother had purchased for him as part of their shopping excursion through downtown.
Tillman said she came to Havre de Grace Saturday for her regular appointment at a downtown hair salon, and then she and the children took the afternoon to visit shops and the attractions of Graw Days.
She said downtown was a "free environment, the streets were closed so we had the ability to roam about unrestricted, if you will.