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Cherry Blossom Festival to go on despite stormy weather

CONYERS - Even with heavy rains and thunderstorms in the forecast today, the 28th Annual Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival will go on.

"We will have the festival, rain or shine," said Jennifer Edwards, spokeswoman with the city of Conyers. "That's part of having an outdoor venue ... but we will keep our fingers crossed."

Jennifer Bexley, director of the Georgia International Horse Park, where the festival will be held, said her office fielded calls throughout the day Friday from residents asking whether the festival would be postponed.

"We can't really postpone the festival with all the sponsors and vendors who have been lined up," Bexley said.

However, she said organizers will be mindful of severe weather and have coordinated with the Conyers Police Department to make plans accordingly.

Predictions of thunderstorms and flood watches throughout the weekend were issued by the National Weather Service.

Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington, who also serves as the Rockdale Emergency Management Agency's director, advised county employees Thursday via e-mail that the weekend could bring severe weather.

"The National Weather Service expects Saturday to have the greatest potential for severe weather, including the possibility of tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail. There will be increased instability in the atmosphere, making for an increased risk of tornado activity," according to the e-mail.

By Sunday, however, the skies are expected to clear with high temperatures in the low 60s, the NWS reported.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is held each year at the Georgia International Horse Park. Approximately 300 vendors of arts and crafts, food and entertainment are slated to be on hand for the two-day event.

Admission to the festival is free but parking is $5 a vehicle. Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. Organizers ask that attendees contribute donations to Rockdale Emergency Relief's community Food Bank. A $2 coupon toward the purchase of a commemorative festival T-shirt will be given to those who donate.

Rain will postpone at least one event in Conyers this weekend. The annual plant sale sponsored by the Rockdale Career Academy's FFA was to be held today, but has been rescheduled. The sale, which serves as a fundraiser for the FFA Club, will now be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Rockdale Career Academy, 1064 Culpepper Drive.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.