Weather little problem for youth festival
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles Optimist Club's second annual Youth Festival certainly had its fair share of unstable weather to deal with this weekend, but that didn't seem to keep people away.
The festival was held at the Riverfront Amphitheater Friday evening and all day Saturday.
Saturday afternoon, unlike Saturday morning, which was cold and cloudy, however, was sunny, warm and perfect for both young and old to enjoy an outdoor music festival.
The tents put up to keep the rain out, people instead used as shade for the hot afternoon sun.
Keith Luke from Dowagiac, who attended the festival to see his son play for the Southwestern Michigan College Jazz Band, said he follows the jazz band around to see it perform.
Parents watching the SMC jazz band perform, while keeping an eye on their summer dressed children holding balloons and walking on the soft green grass in front of and around the stage, would probably agree with him.
Paul Pendl from South Bend, Ind., also spent some of Saturday afternoon in front of the amphitheater.
Having spent most of the winter in Florida, he and his wife recently returned to South Bend for the spring and summer.
Joined by a cousin and his wife, they all seemed to enjoy the festival's laid-back atmosphere.
There wasn't much laid-back about SMC Jazz Band's performance, however.
The band played a number of songs and delivered an up-beat and funky performance. They were joined by SMC's Center Stage Dance and Show Choir, who sang, amongst others, classics like "Putting on the Ritz," from the movie Young Frankenstein, and "My Funny Valentine"
Lisa Croteau, the Downtown Development Director, was one of the people who helped organize this year's youth festival. She was glad to see the steady turnout both Friday and Saturday despite the unstable weather, and was impressed with the quality of some of the performances. She said especially the young performers Aaron Hall and April Webber had made an impression.
Croteau, however, couldn't avoid commenting on the weather sitting in her pull-out chair in the shade of a tent watching the jazz band perform.
Croteau said based on Friday evenings weather forecast, some of the festival organizer decided to stock up on water because it was predicted Saturday would be in the high 80s to lower 90s.
Apparently leaving the festival concession stand with a small mountain of unsold water bottles…
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