Glover Road was a sea of people, tents, and more people Saturday as tens of thousands turned out for the 22nd annual Fort Langley Cranberry Festival.
Visitors came from throughout the Lower Mainland to participate in the ceremonial harvest festivities held in the centre of the village, and organizers are hailing the event “a huge success.”
“We believe we had upwards of 55,000 visitors to the festival this year,” said Meghan Neufeld, who organizes the festival on behalf of the Fort Langley Business Improvement Area.
She said that was “on par” with attendance at the 2013 and 2014 festivals.
“However, the energy in the crowd was different this year. People were dancing in the streets, which I haven’t seen before.”
Admittedly, she “crashed hard” after the festival, but said she’s been hearing from Fort Langley merchants and festival vendors alike and many are reporting record sales.
“Everyone was thrilled with the turnout and the wonderful weather,” Neufeld said. Of note, last year’s festival was plagued by torrential rains and a lengthy power outage that cut attendance to less than half of norm, at about 25,000.
“Every year, I take some time to slowly wonder the streets and listen to people’s comments about the festival,” she said. “I love hearing what people have to say in the moment.”
The entertainment lineup, directed by Sandy Dunkley, was “fabulous and had the crowd hopping all day,” Neufeld said.
And the cranberry sales, coordinated by the BIA to cover costs of hosting the annual festival, once again sold out.
“Ocean Spray (who donates the berries) set us over 12,000 pounds of the ruby red fruit this year, and we sold out just as the festival was ending,” Neufeld said.
“Another highlight from me is connecting with new and returning event volunteers,” she added. “Some, I only get to see once a year. [But] the festival wouldn’t function the way it does, without the dedication of our volunteers.”
Neufeld pointed to a team of about 25 people who are involved in pulling the festival together, at least half of them from the Fort Langley Lions and Leo’s Club.
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