Algonquin festival plows through wet weather

ALGONQUIN – Rain did not tarnish the spirits of participants Saturday at the annual Old Time Country Harvest Festival in Algonquin, even if there were not as many as 2011.

This year’s festival migrated from its original site in the Municipal Parking Lot to Cornish Park alongside Algonquin Road to draw the attention of the passing traffic. The weather, however, prevented the desired outcome.

Local vendors waited out the wet conditions, spending time socializing among groups and enjoying each other’s company under umbrellas and tents.

Donald Brewer, president of the Rotary Club of Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, had a lively group with him from the club raising money for a scholarship and other community programs. Club members sold coffee, hot chocolate and cookbooks and had a variety of frozen pies for order from Swiss Maid Bakery.

“We’re here to have some fun and support the community,” Brewer said.

The festival’s sponsor, Downtown Algonquin Partnership, accepted nonperishable food donations for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Food Pantry.

The rain didn’t drown out the savory smells drifting out of Miss Cindy’s Concessions tent. Brats, funnel cakes and elephant ears were among the treats available. Owner Cindy Andrzejewski is no stranger to festivals, and her whole crew seemed happy to endure the weather.

“We’ve never done this festival before, but we love the location so we thought we’d try it,” Andrzejewski said. “The weather’s a little iffy, but we thought we’d come hang out anyway, and I’m sure we’ll be back next year.”

Dundee resident Angela Cassidy stopped for a snack at Miss Cindy’s along with her children, Heidi and Julian Holland. Cassidy said Heidi, 7, and Julian, 5, were eager to try the bouncy house no matter the weather.

“These festivals are a great way to bring people together, and people seem happier when they attend them,” Cassidy said. “We love the fall, and it’s such a positive environment that we thought we’d come out and enjoy it, even if it is raining.”

Lou Ho, Creative Occasions owner and festival organizer, sold bars of her all-natural handcrafted soap.

“I love to be involved in the community, and this is a really great way for all of the vendors to network with each other as well as local residents,” she said.

Alex Tuchman and Betsy Redelman manned the Loyola Student Farm stand. The two sold organic vegetables grown by students of the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock.

The Historic Commission’s Olde Town Walking Tour was canceled because of the weather, and it rained on the Costume Parade. But festival organizers said they will return next year with fingers crossed for better weather.

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