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Delp: 'We had a great festival'

Despite the rainy and chilly weather, the 37th Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival was another successful one, an event coordinator said Monday.
“We had a great festival,” Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp said. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from vendors and festivalgoers.”
The festival opened on Friday, Oct. 3, with warm, but rainy weather. The rain continued off and on throughout the morning before the skies over downtown Erwin cleared later in the day.
“The rainy weather kept some visitors away on Friday,” Delp said. “However, many of our vendors told me the rain led festivalgoers to take shelter in the vendor booths.
“While waiting for the rain to stop, the festivalgoers shopped longer and spent more money, which made the vendors very happy.”
Eric Shaw, who is also known as the “Chicken Man,” said Friday afternoon that business at his booth, “The Chicken Smells Good,” had been steady despite the rain.
“The crowds have been here,” he said.
Judy Bible, who operated the Endless Impressions Painted Faces booth, on Main Avenue said her business started slow but picked up as Friday progressed.
“When business picked up, it really picked up,” she said.
Bible said she attends festivals and shows in several states. She praised the Chamber for their work on the festival.
“I love it,” she said of the Apple Festival. “The Chamber is fantastic to work with. They will answer any question you have and if you need help they will be there to assist you. I have nothing but the highest regard for this festival.”
Rain left the county by Saturday, but chilly weather appeared in its place. This, however, did not stop the crowds from descending on the festival grounds to take in the sights and sounds of the Apple Festival.
“Saturday’s crowd was one of our best crowds,” Delp said. “Many people waited to come until then because of the rain the day before.”
Delp said several vendors reported record sales to the Chamber.
“We had vendors who had to close their booths early because they were out of their products,” she added. “We are happy at the Chamber when our vendors are successful. Yes, we want festivalgoers to enjoy the event, but the success of our vendors is very important. If the vendors aren’t successful, they don’t come. Without our vendors we can’t draw the thousands of visitors we do.”
Delp also said the Chamber also judges the success of the festival on the number of vendors who renew their booths before the event ends Saturday night.
“We have had a very good percentage of our vendors renew for next year,” she added.