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Cherry Blossom Festival blooms with huge turnout

Rhap, a 4-year-old border collie, shows off his athletic skills in the Ultimate Air Show Saturday at the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival. Here Jacob Garcia tosses a toy for Rhap to retrieve. Rhap, short for Rhapsody, is owned by Garcia and Sam Gentsch. On this jump Rhap soared for 21-plus feet. (Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith)

Rhap, a 4-year-old border collie, shows off his athletic skills in the Ultimate Air Show Saturday at the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival. Here Jacob Garcia tosses a toy for Rhap to retrieve. Rhap, short for Rhapsody, is owned by Garcia and Sam Gentsch. On this jump Rhap soared for 21-plus feet. (Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith)

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Shelby Hamilton, Matthew Smith and sister Madeline Smith take a break at the Cherry Blossom Festival to try their hands at walking the puppet marionettes. The puppets were offered for sale at the Kahrs Toy Time booth, crafters from Dexter, Kansas. These youngsters were among the thousands who turned out over the weekend to enjoy the festival and the springtime weather.

CONYERS — Attendance at the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival more than quadrupled over the previous year, with an estimated 30,000 people taking in the two-day weekend event at the Georgia International Horse Park.

Conyers spokeswoman Jennifer Edwards said Saturday drew the largest crowd because of the beautiful springtime weather and a Sunday forecast that was less than favorable. However, Sunday turned out better than expected — and so did the crowds.

“This year’s turnout was head and shoulders above previous years, particularly the past three years because of such difficult weather,” Edwards said Monday. “This was a great turnaround and encouraging to see so many people come out. We were very, very pleased with the turnout.”

Edwards said with the extreme winter weather this year, people were likely ready to get out of the house and be among people and enjoy a good festival.

She said in 2013, an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 festival-goers attended the Cherry Blossom Festival.

“This was a great year for us. We love it when the weather cooperates!”