Organizers of the 35th Annual Spring Water Festival said they were pleased with the event and that it was one of the smoothest running festivals they have had. Thousands of people showed up for the two day festival that included more than 40 craft vendors, more than 60 non-profit and business displays, children’s games and rides and all day entertainment.
Vendors reported a steady day of visitors and shoppers. Beth Watkins was over the craft section of the festival. “I spoke with most of the vendors, and got a mixed response,” Watkins said. “Some did really, really good. Irene Deguzman said it was the best year she has done in a while here. While others said they did ok, but yet others said they didn’t do so well or they have done better.”
Watkins said the craft side of the park was so packed, especially in the early hours, that people actually had a hard time getting through. “It was shoulder to shoulder,” she said.
Watkins said her vendors enjoyed a raffle in which any vendor who wanted to participate donated one item that they sell. One number was drawn and that person won the whole thing.”
This year’s winner was Joyce Robbins.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the turnout at the festival and very thankful that the rain held off. I was thrilled to see people enjoying T. G. Sheppard’s performance. He was awesome and was just as good looking as he always has been.”
The Spring Water 5K run returned, this year with about 60 runners. Turnout for the run was probably lower this year due to the run not being held last year, organizers said.
The new Mineral Spring Trail Walk had 60 people sign up. Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandal helped register people for the event. Most of those participating in the walk were adults, she said.
“People were excited and happy to do it,” she said. Participants also received a free T-shirt to commemorate the walk.
Crandall said she was talking with festival visitors “non-stop”while at her display booth which was located in the center of activities near the Mineral Spring.
Food coordinator Jim Riddle said his eleven food vendors were pleased with their sales.
“Overall it went real well,” he said. Everybody was happy.”
Riddle said there seemed to be a second crowd that came in later in the day for the concert and that there were a lot of people looking around the festival and they stayed around longer than in past years.
Auto Show organizer Steve Ellison said“ the festival went real well,” however he said the heat did have some effect. “Some of our entries left because it was so hot. Overall it went really, really well.”
The auto show had 134 cars registered, he said.
The Williamston Police Department also said things went smoothly with no real problems. Sargent L. E. Mulz said there were no lost kids and no issues during the event.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said “I thought it was one of the best Spring Water Festivals we’ve ever had. Even though it was hot, some have been hotter.”
“I thought the highlight was T. G. Sheppard. He played with the people, not to the people,” the mayor said. “I thought he was one of the best headliners we’ve ever had. He drew the audience down to the stage and invited them to come closer. I thought it was one of our best.”
A highlight of the festival was a special presentation from the Springwater Committee recognizing the service of the Williamston Police Department. Festival Chairman David Meade presented Police Chief Tony Taylor with a plaque of appreciation during the opening ceremony of the festival
Meade said there was a steady crowd in the park throughout the day.
“Friday night’s beach crowd was up a bit with two bands performing,” he said
Just before T. G. Sheppard took the stage on Saturday, people began pouring into the amphitheater area. There were people sitting from from the stage all the way to the road,” he said.
Meade estimated the overall crowd attendance of the two day festival at more than 8,000 people.
Other estimates ranged from 6000 to 12000.