Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thousands flock to festival

Food, crafts, anthem prove to be highlights of Maple Leaf Festival

October 21, 2004

Nita Taylor was a happy woman Saturday afternoon, all because of a turkey leg.

Before this weekend's Maple Leaf Festival, Taylor, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., had never eaten a turkey leg.


So though she had to stand in line for more than 45 minutes, she said, it didn't matter because she got to taste her first turkey leg ever.

"It was definitely worth it," she said.

Her friend Debra Wood said Taylor was very excited about the turkey.

"It was so good, she even forgot to get her change," Wood said. "She walked off without it."

Wood, who is from Lawrence, Taylor and their friends Georgie Denisar, rural Jefferson County, and Peggy Bien, Ottawa, spent Saturday in Baldwin taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of the 47th Maple Leaf Festival.

They weren't the only ones at the festival this weekend. Thousands of people took advantage of the mild temperatures and sunny skies and packed the streets of Baldwin.

"There was a good crowd, a lot of people," said Jennifer Hayes, co-chair of the Maple Leaf Festival committee. "It looks like we had more than last year."

Though no official count was taken, Police Chief Mike McKenna agreed the number of people seemed to be larger than in previous years.

McKenna said the police department spent a longer time Saturday directing traffic than is usually required, and noticed a larger than average crowd for Sunday as well.

Hayes attributed the large turnout to the weather.

"It was wonderful weather," she said. "There was no rain, so that was good."

She said overall the festival was successful.

One of the big changes this year, she said, was the relocation of the carnival to the 800 block of High Street.

"I think moving the carnival was a success," she said. "They were able to have more stuff, more games and more rides."

Festival committee member Diane Wagner agreed and said she had heard a lot of positive feedback about the carnival relocation.

"And the carnival was able to expand, which helped them make more money, and in turn the festival made more money," Wagner said.

The festival also featured more than 350 arts and crafts and food booths.

"There was a good mix of different arts and crafts," Hayes said, "and tons of good food to choose from."

Wagner said one of the best moments of the weekend was before the start of the parade Saturday morning when Jocelyn Leonard sang the National Anthem.

"Thousands lined up along the street grew silent as they were listening to the National Anthem," she said. "It was a beautiful day, and I thought, 'This is just so Americana.'

"That's what it's all about."

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