CHESAPEAKE — Leaden skies and grass as squishy as quicksand did not deter the fans of Chesapeake’s annual Octoberfest from packing Triangle Park for another year of food, friends and fun all day Saturday.
“It’s not raining. Thank the Lord,” Mayor Dick Gilpin said as he manned his own booth at the festival. “For an overcast, cold day, we are doing exceptionally well. There’s been no traffic problems.”
Of the 55 vendors who had promised to set up their wares, only seven didn’t show, Gilpin said.
Vendors who did come to the park ranged from the Chesapeake-Proctorville-Rome Lions Club dishing up its specialty, a philly steak sandwich complete with peppers, onions and gooey cheese, to Little Victories’ Animal Rescue asking for donations to continue its dog and cat rescue to churches such as First United Methodist Church in Chesapeake selling food and craft items for mission outreach work.
“We’ve got chili, homemade ice cream and homemade cookbooks,” Daryl Fourman, First Methodist pastor, said. “We’ve gone through one pot of chili already and we are even selling ice cream on a chilly day.”
Mark Andrew Scarberry, 3 of Huntington, W.Va., came with his grandmother, Edna Cole of Proctorville, to ride the ponies and take in the sights. This was the first time Cole had been to the village festival.
“We came here because of Sponge Bob,” she said. “He loves Sponge Bob and we like the little festivals.”
Snuggled in a pen of soft straw lay 4-day-old twin Holstein-Brown Swiss calves that shy youngsters snuck up to stroke. The calves, just fed, were more interested in napping that making new friends.
Though there is nothing much on the election horizon nation or state-wide next month, local politicians were in full force with school board and council contenders setting up booths among the other vendors.
Dallas the wonder boxer fire dog showed up with her shiny yellow firefighter’s costume, complete with boots and helmet as she posed with her best buddy and owner, Shellie Webb, daughter of fire chief, Ed Webb, for sightseers.
“She dresses up for every holiday,” Webb said. “ And I will take her to the nursing home. My grandfather is there and the residents really enjoy her and encourage her to do tricks.”
As the aroma of sizzling steak sandwiches and chili enveloped the park, Gilpin was pleased with the turnout for the second festival since he took office.
“My prayers have been answered,” he said. “I’ve been telling everyone for the past two weeks there wouldn’t be any rain.”