PILOT MOUNTAIN — Downtown Pilot Mountain was filled to capacity Saturday afternoon by crowds enjoying the 31st-annual Mayfest.
“By the time the weekend is over, we probably will have seen between 15,000 and 18,000,” said Town Manager Homer Dearmin, also the president of the organization that spearheads the street festival, the Pilot Mountain Civic Club.
“I’d say the higher end of that,” Dearmin added of the projected attendance. “This is the biggest crowd than we’ve had in a while.”
While persistent showers this spring have spoiled many an outing, the Mayfest weekend has been blessed by pleasant — and dry — conditions. That, combined with free entertainment by bluegrass, old-time, rock and oldies bands, and vendors of artwork, crafts, jewelry, clothing, food and virtually everything else imaginable, brought people out in droves.
That included locals as well as out-of-towners, with the downtown area closed to vehicular traffic this weekend to provide plenty of room for Mayfest activities.
John Wood of Clemmons smiled as he walked along West Main Street carrying an eyecatching sign he had bought at the festival showing the image of a bear and the message “Welcome to the Woods!”
Wood was amused by the play on words including his last name and said the brown-colored sign, to be placed outside his home, will match another his wife bought at a previous Mayfest: “An old bear lives here.”
The Clemmons resident, accompanied by his wife and niece, was enjoying the overall down-home atmosphere projected by Mayfest. “I like all of it,” he said while in the midst of the crowded street, “looking at the stuff, getting some exercise walking around and eating out at Cousin Gary’s (a Pilot Mountain restaurant).”
While Wood and others were on the buying end of items offered at Mayfest, those on the selling side were happy as well.
“We’ve been very pleased with the turnout,” vendor Trish Draughn during a break from selling a variety of flowering and other plants at her stand that seemed to be attracting a steady stream of customers.
“We have a couple of greenhouses, and this is our first time here,” Draughn said of a family operation based in the Copeland community which was a longtime vendor at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market near Greensboro. While changes in their schedules have prevented the greenhouse owners from recently going there, it opened the door for the initial appearance at Mayfest.
Draughn said she was glad for that opportunity, not only because of eager buyers for her fresh plants, but meeting “a lot of nice people.”
Dearmin, the town manager, said longtime vendors at Mayfest have given him similar good reviews about the customer traffic generated by Mayfest this year. “They’ve had the best sales yesterday and today that they have had — ever,” he said late Saturday.
A special children’s area, with rides and a giant slide, has proven to be popular stopover as well during the annual event.
Mayfest will continue today, with activities scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.