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BACK WITH A BANG

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Saturday’s street fair drew a huge crowd.
SoVaNow.com / July 21, 2021
Another Lakefest has come and gone. The 44th annual summer festival took place in Clarksville Friday and Saturday.

“The Clarksville Lake Country Chamber of Commerce could not be more pleased how well the weekend went, from the Friday night opening ceremonies honoring our sponsors to the ending fireworks on Saturday. The 44th annual Lakefest did not disappoint,” said Chamber Executive Director Sheila Cuykendall.

Cuykendall said the crowd was appreciative of the musical entertainment by local favorite Tobacco Road Band on Friday and The Konnection Band on Saturday and the Disney characters strolling the festival grounds on Saturday. “Tinkerbell, Baby Shark and Jack Sparrow were a hoot,” Cuykendall said. “The passenger train was busy all day. Crowds were awesome and our businesses and vendors were very pleased.”

Linda Davenport, owner of Galleria on the Lake, said “the vendors seemed happy, and the fireworks were beautiful. It was a good day for the gallery.”

Clarksville Town Manager Jeff Jones added his kudos to Cuykendall, Lakefest volunteers, local first responders and town employees who helped make this popular festival “a success once again.” He estimated the crowd at around 25,000 at its peak.

Cuykendall measured the success of the 44th annual Lakefest by the fact that Lakefest commemorative tee shirts were sold out by Saturday afternoon.

“People were ready to get out and enjoy themselves,” Jones noted.

Going into the event, Jones said he worried that after a year’s hiatus, vendors and others might have trouble with the setup and procedures. Jones said his concerns were unwarranted. “Saturday early morning set up went so smoothly with the vendors. The weather was kind to us for setup, but it did get hotter for the afternoon, like usual.”

There was one blemish that occurred during the two-day festival. It happened Saturday night when someone “threw a beer bottle at the sand sculpture that damaged the corner of the art piece” that John Gowdy and his wife created. Cuykendall called the vandalism “disheartening” after the award-winning artists spent hours working on the unique sculpture.

Late-day storms almost caused Ryan Francisco and his team to cancel the end-of-day fireworks extravaganza. Cuykendall said the Lakefest gods smiled on the event and the rains held off until the last pyrotechnic candle painted the night sky. “A few minutes after ten [o’clock] the rain and lightning let loose.”

People who viewed the Saturday night show called it “the best fireworks display ever,” despite having to wait an extra 30 minutes for the fireworks to begin.

This year’s fireworks were more thrilling, in part, because Virginia Skypainters shot off double the number of rockets due to there being no show in 2020, according to Cuykendall.

This event could not happen without the people who toil behind the scenes. To them Cuykendall said, “a huge shout out goes to Jeff Jones, the Town of Clarksville employees, state, county and local police, the members of the Clarksville Volunteer Fire Department, County E-911, and the Mecklenburg County Lifesaving and Rescue Squad for their help and protection during the event and to the Town employees who cleaned up after the event.

“A special thank you to Brenda Farris and Steve and Amy Hite for overseeing the hot air balloon pilots who make Lakefest special and Ryan Francisco for an awesome fireworks display. To all of the above along with our sponsors, volunteers, and our businesses we thank you for making the 44th Annual Virginia Lake Festival in 2021 a memorable one.”



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