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Officials pleased with Plainfield Fest turnout

Chairman believes thousands were raised for foundation

Published: Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:50 p.m. CDT
(Christine Muilenburg for Shaw Media)
Sophomore athlete Bri Smith sits in the Plainfield Central HS Athletic Boosters dunk tank while sophomore athlete Kamrin Dolbee assists a young lady on Saturday during Plainfield Fest.
(Christine Muilenburg for Shaw Media)
People gather at Plainfield Fest on Saturday. According to Rob Epley, Chairman of Plainfield Fest, proceeds benefit the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation.

The teams began playing beanbags at noon on Sunday at Plainfield Fest.

Although the festival technically closed at 6 p.m. Sunday, Rob Epley, Festival chairman, said the players would be throwing well after 6 p.m.

“With this many teams, they’ll be playing all the way to 7 tonight,” he said.

This year, 64 teams signed up and were able to play in the Midwest Bags Tournament. Additional teams were on a waiting list and did not get to compete this year.

“We’ve been told it’s the fourth biggest in the U.S.,” Epley said of the tournament.

The number of teams that signed up for the bags tournament is not the only place where the Plainfield Fest thrived this year. Epley said more than 70 vendors participated in the fest. Proceeds from all the festival fees and sales go to the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to rebuild the area once known as Electric Park.

Because the festival is held on Main Street, it is a natural boon to the local businesses. And this year was especially so as Epley said he estimated 15,000 attended the fest, way above the anticipated 10,000 to 12,000 people.

“We’ve had record crowds this year; it’s unbelievable,” Epley said.

Cathy DeAvila owns Cathy’s Sweet Creations, a bakery that has been in its Main Street site for a decade. She said this year the festival brought a lot of business.

“We’ve been absolutely swamped,” she said. “We stayed open Friday night until 9 p.m.

“We had trouble closing the doors because it was so crowded.”

On Saturday night, Epley said the entertainment area was at capacity when cover band ARRA played to crowds. He thought the liquor sales alone on Saturday night exceeded $40,000.

Down the street from DeAvila, shop owner Cassie Vaughn, who owns Hopscotch and Vine, combined shop What’s New and Simply Saucy and newly opened 3 Chics Boutique said the crowds have been great.

“It’s great exposure for downtown businesses,” Vaughn said.

All in all, Epley said he thought the festival this weekend would raise $100,000 for the foundation.

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