It was a tranquil scene Wednesday afternoon in Foster Park as vendors casually set up food booths and few rides beneath a blue, sunny sky to get ready for the Haynes Apperson Festival today.
But it was the calm before the storm. This morning, vendors swarmed the area to set up and prepare for the thousands of people ready to hit the festival this evening for its maiden voyage at Foster Park.
And it’s a storm festival organizers say they’ve been planning on for the last few months as the event moves from downtown to the park for the first time ever.
Festival organizer Paul Wyman said the festival will be by far the largest event ever held in Foster Park. He said he anticipates over 15,000 people to descend on the festival over the next three days for food, rides and live concerts booming out from the pavilion stage.
Wyman said the festival board spent months looking at aerial maps of the park to create the best layout for this year’s event and utilize the new space in the most efficient way.
“We were trying to figure out a layout that creates flow,” he said. “We want to create that flow so people will not only ride the rides, but patronize the vendors out here while still maximizing the seating for the concerts.”
What they came up with was this: Rides in the middle of the park with food and craft vendors surrounding them. Kid rides set up on Superior Street. Cars for the cruise-in shows parked along Superior Street inside the park. A beer tent located near the stage so people can enjoy a drink and watch the concerts.
But the set up Wednesday didn’t come without its changes. Wyman said they anticipated they’d have to tweak a few things once vendors actually started moving in. That’s why they started setting up already by Tuesday evening, he said.