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Bang-up weekend

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Lakefest crowds were some of the largest in memory as relatively cool temperatures greeted visitors to Buggs Island Lake this weekend. (Susan Kyte photos) / July 23, 2014
It was a boffo celebration — and great timing for the Virginia Lake Festival, which fell this year on an uncharacteristically moderate weekend in mid-July.

The reasonably comfortable mid-80s temperatures contributed to one of the largest crowds in memory for the 37th annual festival by the lake. Clarksville Lake Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheila Cuykendall pegged visitation around at least 80,000 people, and to the street-level eye, it seemed like a credible estimate.

Lakefest attracted 198 vendors who lined the streets of Clarksville on Saturday, the apex of the three-day celebration. Lakefest kicked off early Thursday night with a crowd of about 350 people on hand to witness hot air balloons aloft at the Lake Country Business Park on Noblin Farm Road; many children on hand delighted in the free tethered rides offered by eight hot air balloon pilots who visited town for the weekend.

The weekend festival included a juried arts and crafts show, an antique auto show, a magic act, public art displays with a sand sculpture and the “LOVE’ sculpture from Virginia Tourism, helicopter and hot air balloon rides, musical guests and games and rides for young and old.

Wood carver Gamaliel Tejeda, took home the first place award in this year’s juried art show. Second place went to portrait artist Linda Patrick, and third place was claimed by The Reinvented Home’s Karen Bixler and Darlene Kelly. Honorable mention went to the Colonial Wagon’s Gabe Anders.

Saturday night’s Gathering of the Boats and fireworks marked the end of this year’s festivities, which concluded before rain clouds settled over the area Sunday and Monday.

A gratified if weary Cuykendall praised town workers, businesses and civic groups, individuals and local police for their efforts to make Lakefest an annual success: “We could not make this event happen without the hard work of so many people, especially the town of Clarksville and the local police,” she said.

For more coverage of Lakefest, see pages A10-A11 and B1 of today’s Sun.

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