Weather deters many from Springfest

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Jennifer Hammond Zane Black, 1, gets in a military vehicle with his grandmother Spl. Rickett during Springfest in Austin on Saturday.

Unseasonably cold temperatures and rainy weather put a damper on this year’s Springfest in Austin, an event held each year to raise money for the local volunteer fire department.

The rays of sunshine that made an appearance early in the day during the mid-morning parade quickly gave way to cold, wind and rain, causing some vendors to take down their booths early and putting an early end to the antique car show.

Still, none of that kept the children from enjoying the two bouncy houses that were at the festival, and there was plenty of warmth and food to go around inside the firehouse where there was also a silent auction offering up an array of goods and services on which to bid.

Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain said there were at least 80 items up for bid in the silent auction, including 46 gift certificates, all of which were donated by local businesses and residents.

Other indoor festivities included a cake walk and bingo with donated prizes.

Chamberlain, noting that the weather that felt more like winter than late spring, said the crowd at the event was a bit thinner than last year’s crowd.

Larry Suter, who entered his restored 1931 model Ford sedan in the car show, said Springfest had a tough time competing with other central Arkansas festivals that took place the same weekend, such as Toad Suck Daze in Conway and Cinco de Mayo festivities in Little Rock. Suter said the festivals are not usually held the same weekend.

There was also a beauty pageant at the festival for young girls. Handmade items were for sale at the vendor booths, in addition to well-known brands such as Pampered Chef and Scentsy.

Troops from Arkansas National Guard unit from Cabot were also at the event with two large military-style vehicles for festival-goers to tour.

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