Rain dampens GreenWalk; many still turn out
By JONATHAN BILYK - email@example.com
BATAVIA - Carolyn Burnham and others tasked with organizing downtown Batavia's early summer festival, the Batavia Green Walk, knew the risks of throwing a party outside.
"It's always hard with any outdoor event, because of the weather," said Burnham, who serves on the Green Walk's organizing committee. "But this event is all about showing people the opportunities they have to enjoy the outdoors.
"So it was important that this be outside, even if it does rain."
And Saturday morning, rain fell throughout the morning, putting a damper on the sixth annual Batavia Green Walk.
Staged for the last five years, the Green Walk is intended to offer Batavia residents and visitors alike an opportunity to learn more about the surrounding environment, and the variety of local products, services and activities to help promote a more "green" lifestyle.
Burnham noted that this year, the event more than doubled its number of vendors and exhibitors, enlisting about 70 for the 2013 festival.
The various exhibitors were arrayed along the Riverwalk near the Peg Bond Center, Batavia City Hall and the River Street pedestrian bridge. They offered an array of products and services, including products to make a home more energy efficient, locally grown and organic food options, and information on local "green" recreational options.
Visitors could also rent kayaks or paddle boats to take out onto the water of the adjacent lagoon.
Organizers had expected larger crowds at the event, as well, as they opted to stage the Green Walk on a Saturday for the first time in the event's history. Previously, the Green Walk had been staged on a Friday.
The Saturday scheduling had allowed the Green Walk to be held jointly with Batavia's downtown Farmer's Market on River Street, just across the pedestrian bridge.
They also added food concessions and "mini-lectures" presented on various topics, including Fox River water quality; conscious shopping and cooking; birds in the Fox River; and home energy efficiency, among others.
Morning rains, however, appeared to keep many people away, organizers said.
Joi Cuartero, executive director of Batavia MainStreet, which helped to sponsor and plan the event, estimated that by mid-afternoon, several hundred people had visited the festival. As sunshine broke through the clouds, she believed about 1,000 would come by the time it wrapped up at 4 p.m.
She also noted that the rain did not keep everyone away, as the event had been visited by "a number of people with umbrellas" in the morning.
Lenny and Kelly Peterson, of St. Charles, said they were drawn to the event by the farmer's market, which offered them the chance to meet a farmer from whom they were buying produce through a community supported agriculture arrangement.
"I usually work on Saturdays, so this is kind of a unique chance for me to come down here with my family and check this out," said Lenny. "It seems like a pretty neat event.
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