50,000 attend bridge festival at Knoebels
ELYSBURG - Beautiful weather, great crafts and delicious food brought people out in droves Saturday to the 32nd annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival at Knoebels Amusement Resort.
Megan Hummel, event chairperson, said the 20,000-car parking lot was approaching full capacity at 2 p.m., which means - assuming there was an average 2.5 people per car - 50,000 people attended the event.
People from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida and Ohio attended; each year, more and more people come, she said.
A survey conducted last year showed the festival brings in more than $9 million for the area, she said.
"This speaks to the quality of the festival, and the quality of the region," Hummel said.
Last year, over the four-day period, an estimated 65,000 people attended the event presented by the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau, she said.
Forty food vendors and approximately 350 craft vendors offered handmade and traditional crafts, turned and carved wood, glass, prints, sewn and woven textiles, jewelry, photography, paintings, decor for every holiday, new and re-purposed primitives and much more.
Hummel stood near the annual auction where 350 items, donated by the crafters, were being sold to the highest bidder. All money benefited the visitor's bureau.
The auction is why Laurie Ferdinand, of Hazleton, takes off work and attends the festival with her friends.
"It's fun, and it's for charity. And you can get the stuff cheaper than at the displays," she said.
Ferdinand pulled a small wagon packed with merchandise, including as a Christmas tree, handmade pottery, candles and a sled, back to her car in the parking lot.
Kathleen Kelly, of Woolrich, was planning on spending all day at the event, purchasing Christmas gifts for friends and family.
"They're unique, and I can get here in a reasonable amount of time, and it's a nice day out," she said cheerfully.
Attending with her daughter and three grandchildren, Kelly was taking a break to munch on a plate of funnel cake.
Astra and Dan Reaser, of Williamsport, were also planning on staying until the festival was over.
"We'll be done when it's probably dark out," Dan said.
Astra said she loves the variety of crafts and the ability to purchase different presents for loved ones.
They were browsing the craft stand of Sarah Geuss, who cuts the bottoms off wine bottles and makes lanterns that are painted or etched.
Today is the last day for the festival, and it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.