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Rain dampens Cherry Blossom Festival

CONYERS - Mother Nature just didn't cooperate this year for the 28th annual Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival.

Heavy rains and threats of severe weather kept many away Saturday from the opening day of the two-day festival at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. As a result, festival organizers waived the $5 parking fee and decided to keep gates open two hours later Sunday when the weather was expected to clear.

However, forecasts of sunnier skies were not fully realized. Sunday was overcast, cold and windy.

Jennifer Edwards, spokeswoman for the city of Conyers, said 2,165 cars were counted Sunday.

"Obviously, our numbers were down from last year," she said. "We're disappointed for our vendors, sponsors and festival-goers. The Cherry Blossom Festival is such a tradition."

Approximately 300 vendors of arts and crafts, food and entertainment signed on to participate in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival that usually draws crowds from around the region. The festival is timed each year to coincide with the blooming of Yoshina cherry trees, for which the event is named.

"We are hoping for the best for next year. We're always at the mercy of the weather with an outdoor venue," Edwards said.

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