Rain clouds were attacking -- from the south and the north -- and radar outlined a swirling cauldron of dragon-shaped storm patterns surrounding Cedaredge. It was less than 48 hours before the start of Applefest 2018 and it was beginning to look like this year's festival was about to open smack-dab in the middle of a gloomy forecast.
The Cedaredge Volunteer Fire Department's five-alarm chili cook-off drew a record crowd on Thursday evening but those folks were dining indoors. As vendors checked in on Friday, the weather was an unpromising mixture of weak sunshine tempered with wind and rain. When Saturday, Oct. 6, opened with a cloudy dawn, organizers got their raincoats ready and held their collective breaths.
But, as Saturday advanced, periodic showers were chased away by sufficient sunshine to keep the crowd coming and soon sidewalks, roadways, and town park were overflowing with visitors. The weather held until closing time when a chilly drizzle began and thoughts turned toward Sunday. Throughout Saturday evening a steady rain drummed down on Applefest -- until the temporary village of tarps and tents was thoroughly soaked.
Next morning came another bleak dawn. But soon clouds dissolved and, like magic, the final hours of Applefest blossomed into a very mild and mostly sunny autumn day. At last 4 p.m. arrived and it was official. Against all odds, and with weather threatening at every point of the compass, the festival had survived.
The Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce is the organization responsible for coordinating the town's yearly extravaganza which is traditionally held on the first full weekend in October. That timetable places it within the opening weeks of Colorado's fickle autumn season when Western weather can range from unbearably hot to pleasantly mild to uncomfortably icy.
Attendance estimates for last week's event are still being compiled. But, even if this year's figure turns out to be smaller than past crowds, organizers and vendors seem content to look on the bright side. Given the magnitude of ominous predictions, most would likely agree that -- for all this weekend's changeable climate -- Applefest 2018 managed to weather the storm.