2011 Country Fest a success

Thousands turned out for Country Fest on the hottest weekend this summer, so far

Colleen Flanagan/the news Sleep tight Beth Bouchir

Colleen Flanagan/the news Sleep tight Beth Bouchir

Thousands turned out for Country Fest this year on the hottest weekend this summer. so far.

“We lucked out with the weather,” says Lorraine Bates, general manager of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association.

However, the lousy weather leading up to the festival kept Bates guessing.

“I had to reconfigure the fairgrounds three times this year,” she said about making plans for potential rain.

“Usually, we’re watering to keep the grounds green,” she continued. “But this year, [the ground] was sodden.”

Bates was happy with the crowds that turned out Friday evening for the music festival, especially since it was the first year the festival was offered.

But the larger crowds came out on Saturday and Sunday.

“Overall, attendance was about the same as last year,” said Bates.

Since it is a free event, it is difficult to get a definitive attendance number, she added.  “From the parking, I’d say we’re about 14,000.”

Bates was most impressed with the 1970s tribute bands that played Saturday evening.

“We had to bring in three more bleachers to the stage,” Bates said about the big turnout.

She was also impressed with the church service Sunday morning that represented 13 churches in the community.

A lot of people come from out of town and camp on the grounds, said Bates, and so they don’t have to go off site if they are church-going people.

In addition, there were more 4-H clubs than ever before.

“One of the Island’s clubs, who have been here before, but this year they brought their whole club,” Bates said.

As a final testament to the great weather enjoyed by fair-goers, by the end of it Sunday evening, the beer garden had only three cases left.