September19, 2012 Edition

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Rain falls, festival goes on

Gretchen Hunt

Despite a steady rain in downtown Walnut Ridge on Saturday, there was also a steady stream of people throughout the day for the Beatles at the Ridge festival.

A combination of activities from last year's festival and the Iron Mountain Festival that is normally held in October, the event ran from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with music, vendors and a variety of activities and entertainment all day.

The crowd was a combination of local residents and visitors from throughout the region and state, as well as many from out of state.

Renda Farley of Farmington, Mo., returned for a second year at the Beatles at the Ridge festival. She said she and her husband, Marion, thoroughly enjoy the event, especially the entertainment.

"Marion and I can't keep our feet still," she said. "We dress in costume; laugh and smile till our faces hurt. When the festival is over, we take home good memories of charming, hospitable, Southern people. Thank you, Walnut Ridge."

The couple arrived on Friday evening in time to attend the Beatles Sing-Along, where they took honors in both the costume contest and dance contest, and stayed until Sunday afternoon.

"My only regret was not worshiping that morning at one of your lovely churches," she said. "Moni's restaurant and the Guitar Walk distracted us. The whole experience from beginning to end was delightful."

Saturday's activities culminated with the grand opening of the Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park (see related story) and an evening concert featuring The Liverpool Legends, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers and Stan Perkins.

Mary Jo Wolf of Walnut Ridge said she and her husband, Jack, had a great time listening to the music.

"We are so lucky to have people in this area who care so much about our community that they are willing to work hundreds of hours so that we can have a few hours of enjoyment," she said. "I can't wait to see what's in store for next year!"

While the weather did not cooperate, organizers were pleased that people were dedicated enough to still attend and support the community.

"Everyone - the volunteers, the vendors, the entertainers and the spectators - still came out in full force," Lorra Whitmire, Festival Committee chair said. "Most people just laughed and said, 'It just feels like we are in England.'"

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