Although it was a beautiful weekend, attendance at the eighth annual Bruno Cherry Festival was lower than usual this year.Overall, the festival, held July 24-25, went over well, said Kevin Pulvermacher, chair of the Cherry Festival.Although he does not have exact numbers, Pulvermacher estimates there were between 1,400 and 1,700 people at the festival - about 1,000 fewer people in attendance than last year.There were a few reasons Pulvermacher believes contributed to the lower attendance this year.The one major concern was the closure of Hwy. 5. "The people who wanted to be there from Humboldt and east really wanted to be there, or they didn't realize how bad the road was, and they just struggled through it," said Pulvermacher.It wasn't just the people from east of Bruno who did not make it to the festival. "Even from Saskatoon, there was a big sign saying highway closed," said Pulvermacher."People weren't sure if they could even make it to Bruno."
The other factor Pulvermacher thinks may have affected number was the other festivals happening in Saskatoon over the weekend. "We've done a really good job branding our festival as the Cherry Festival," said Pulvermacher."We need to focus on that and the competition probably isn't a big deal."Although attendance was down, the crowd that made it out to the festival had a great time, said Pulvermacher.One of the biggest hits at the festival this year was the children's venue, with activities like face painting, a sandbox, mosaics with glass, clay working and a 33-foot bouncer. "Our children's venue went over really well and parents were really happy with it," said Pulvermacher.The biggest draw of the festival was the cherry items for sale, said Pulvermacher. They had everything from cherry trees to cherry sausages for people to buy. Pulvermacher says the festival wouldn't have been a success without the help of their volunteers and sponsors."Without them, we'd be sunk," said Pulvermacher."We get a really good turnout of volunteers and everyone worked really well together.Although numbers were down, Pulvermacher has a positive outlook for the future."There's always next year, as our farmer friends are fond of saying," said Pulvermacher. "It's going to be a tough year for rural Saskatchewan and why should our festival be any different. We're all in the same boat. And it was definitely weather related, because of the flooding."
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