By Matt Bunke, Community Editor
Aside from some Saturday morning rain that may have affected turnout for the car show, this year’s Rails To Trails Festivals was a big hit, organizing committee chairman Scott Jensen said.
The annual two day festival was highlighted by events both downtown and at Highland Park, with the return of a Friday night street dance on Lewis Avenue one of the prime attractions of this years festival. Jensen said turnout for the event was fantastic, with 300 people still present at 11 p.m., and that many people have already given positive feedback regarding the event.
Many people approached the Lions and encouraged more and more use of the downtown venue, and the lions will listen and discuss many ideas over the coming months," Jensen said. "The Lions have always viewed this event as a festival for people to get together and connect and have fun. Showcasing Watertown is an important part of this event, especially for the Chamber of Commerce and the City staff and council."
Jensen said police were pleased with the way the event turned out, and that everything went smoothly with closing down the city’s main street for the event, which was set up in the empty lot across from the Luce Line Lodge. Cleanup after the event also went smoothly, and most importantly, Jensen said, people enjoyed the event.
"The Friday night street dance was a huge success," he said. "The audience loved the Basement Band."
Only 55 cars turned out for this year’s second annual Watertown Rumble In Car Show, which this year was moved from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to Highland Park. That number was down from last year, though that may have been due to Saturday morning rain. However, Jensen said Saturday morning’s Fun Run was still a big success.
Jensen said the festival was well attended, and that Saturday’s music headliner, the Shaw Brothers, was also a popular draw at Highland Park. However, financially, Jensen said the event as a whole fell a bit short of recent years.
"Overall the number of attendees was solid but the overall revenues were definitely down — likely a sign of the times," Jensen said.
The Watertown Area Historical Society also hosted its annual display both Friday and Saturday at the Community Center. WAHS President Charlotte Johnson said the event was a success, with many people showing up both days. The exhibit, called "Yesterday’s Music – 1856-2011", showcased generations of Watertown’s musical talent. The exhibit included 17 live performances covering numerous genres.