So you missed the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival this year because you feared the heat?
Dont beat yourself up about it.
Festival Executive Director Jack Hammer understands.
If its 96 degrees at 7 p.m. do you really want to come sit in the plaza? he said Sunday, a day after the official end of the festival. No. We understand that.
Although he doesnt have exact numbers yet, Hammer said attendance was likely down a bit during the nine-day festival because of the high temperatures. Last year, he estimated that about 400,000 people came downtown for the events, and about 80,000 came for the fireworks.
It made a difference, he said of the weather. But thats just part of life.
At this point, hes not sure what that means for the festivals bottom line, but hes hopeful the festival can make a profit.
Hammer said this was a year of change for the festival. For the first time, parade participants and vendors were asked to register online – a move that helped streamline and modernize the process.
Hammer said the festival also relied more on local vendors for everything from the sound system to the people who set up the Saturday night fireworks. At Junk Ffood Alley, he said, at least 80 percent of vendors came from 80 miles away or less.
Another change, Hammer said, was that the festival was able to help raise close to $10,000 for Riley Hospital for Children. Most of the money came through dunk tanks, a bake sale and other events put on by Edys Ice Cream.
Hammer said hes moved away from the pattern of doing away with events simply because they werent as possible in one year as in the last.
But he did say he learned something about the RiverGames that might change how the event is organized in the future: On the whole, he said, people were more interested in shooting each other with water balloon launchers than racing each other in canoes.
Overall, we had a great festival, he said.
You know its worth it when you see the smiles on peoples faces.