Conner Howard/Ohio.com correspondent
BARBERTON: High spirits bloomed Saturday at the 2012 Barberton Mum Fest held at Lake Anna Park. Crowds gathered to browse the extensive flower arrangements, pre-sales for which began Wednesday.
The festival featured food, arts and crafts vendors, homemade confections, live music and lakeside entertainment.
Performances included the Hank Peters Lumberjack Show, a routine of log rolling, canoe jousting and more. Also taking to the lake to wow the crowds was the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team, a competitive water sports team that thrilled the crowd with human pyramids and ramp stunts.
Lisa McLean of the Barberton Beautification Program said crowd reaction to both vendors and performances was very positive.
“The lines for food were long; I'm sure the food vendors are pleased,” McLean said. “The lumberjack show that we had was something new that we did this year, and it seemed to be really well received by the public, and the water ski team of course, they're always here and people love them.”
Bath resident and professional designer Julie Brainard said she normally works directly with clients, but decided to sell her art at a festival for the first time Saturday.
“I think it's an amazing event for Barberton,” Brainard said. “I've never been to an event like this and I think it's pretty cool for a town like this. I sold out of one of my lines already.”
Hundreds took advantage of the pleasant weather Saturday to attend the Mum Fest in record numbers, McLean said.
“This was a record crowd for one day,” McLean said. “We don't have many mums left to sell... we had a very, very brisk mum sale. Beautiful day, beautiful weather, good crowd of people. This was the biggest one-day crowd we've ever had. We probably had a two-day crowd in one day, but it's a good problem to have when you're crowded like that.”
Mum Fest volunteer and Barberton resident Marge Morgan also felt Saturday's turnout was among the largest on record.
“We've been really busy,” Morgan said. “I think [the crowd] is as big as any other year.”
The 2012 Barberton Mum Fest continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., though McLean isn't sure the second day of the festival will see as much success as the first.
“I think it was a perfect fall day today,” McLean said. “I think people wanted to get out, buy flowers, get something to eat and spend time with the family, and they came here.”