High temps don’t dampen CityFest
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Blazing temperatures brought a slow start, but did not hamper the crowd at Alabaster’s ninth-annual CityFest June 4, as event organizers said the attendance seemed about on par with last year’s festival.
“People have been kind of slow coming up to this point, but it’s really starting to pick up now,” Alabaster Councilman Adam Moseley said at about noon. Moseley also is president of the Alabaster Arts Council, which works each year to organize the festival.
“It looks like everything is going to be fine,” Moseley added, noting he likely will have the official event attendance numbers on June 6.
Several people were treated for heat-related complications during the event, but Alabaster Fire Department Lt. Harold Mitchell said the department did not face any serious issues during the day.
“We’ve had some people who have gotten to hot, and we just carry them into our trailer and let them cool off and drink some water,” Mitchell said. “But luckily, it hasn’t been anything too serious.”
Attendance for CityFest, which began as a small community celebration nine years ago, has grown steadily over the past several years. Last year’s event drew a record crowd of 60,000.
Those who braved the daytime temperatures of nearly 100 degrees said they enjoyed the festival’s plethora of offerings.
“We’ve been coming out here for about three years. It’s something we look forward to, especially her,” Clanton resident Jessie Hogeland said, pointing to her daughter, Emma. “It’s a little hotter than it normally is, but we’re having fun.”
During the event, musicians performed on the festival’s several stages, vendors sold everything from virgin daiquiris to SEC football items and automotive enthusiasts showcased a battalion of souped-up hotrods.
“I’m having a great time,” Joey Moore said as he sipped from a straw protruding out of a coconut. “I just wish they had more antique cars over here.”
The event’s vendors were complimentary of the CityFest crowds, and said they enjoyed conversing with the wide variety of people in attendance.
David Mitchell, who attends special events to portray Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show,” was a hit during the event, and spent the day conversing about the show and taking pictures with attendees.
“My wife is in a singing group, and I can’t sing. So I started traveling around with them dressed like this, and it grew from there,” Mitchell said. “There’s never going to be anything else (like The Andy Griffith Show).
“I’ve met a lot of folks today, and got a lot of pictures,” he added. “There’s not really an age, color or gender barrier. Everyone loves Barney.”