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Weaver festival marks city’s 75th anniversary

WEAVER — At least 100 people were walking around Weaver’s Elwell Park on Saturday, some stopping at the dozens of vendors that lined the park’s pathways, while others gathered around a small petting zoo near the back of the park.

It was all part of the city’s annual Weaver Station Heritage Day Festival. Those who were there said they saw fewer people and fewer vendors compared to previous years, but that was to be expected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allen McGinnis and his son Sawyer, a fourth-grader at Weaver Elementary School, said they had come to the festival for about 12 years.

The elder McGinnis said he was surprised the festival was held at all, but he was happy to be there. 

“I think it’s good for the city of Weaver because it brings people in,” he said.

While playing with an inflatable baseball bat with an American flag print, Sawyer said his favorite part of the festival was the vendor who sold inflatable toys.

Mike Warren, president of the Weaver Lions Club, which organized this year’s festival, said it celebrated the 75th anniversary of the city’s founding.

“The COVID year made it a bad year to celebrate, but it is the 75th anniversary,” Warren said.

While the city was officially incorporated in 1945, Warren said, people had lived in the area since the 1800s. Because there was a train station in town, he said, the area was called Weaver Station — hence the festival’s official name. The vote approving incorporation was held in early November, 1945, and the legal status took effect 30 days later, according to contemporary accounts.

Warren said it was the Lions Club’s first time to organize the festival. Because it had changed hands so many times, Warren said, the festival had been skipped over at least one or two years.

“I just wanted people to keep the day in their minds,” Warren said. “If we skip this year, it’ll be harder to get back into it.”

Warren said the club took several precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as posting signs encouraging people to wear masks and to socially distance. Vendors were spaced at least six feet apart, and the live music that would usually be provided was cancelled.

“With live music, we usually have a gathering right there,” Warren said, pointing to the stage at the front of the park.

Douglas and Lindsey Rose, who came with their sons Levi and Eli, said they had just wanted to get out of the house. Douglas Rose said he was happy to see so many local businesses there. He said his favorite part of the festival was the food, especially the Asian market vendor.

“I think it’s about time some of these businesses can get out,” Rose said.

Hallie and Jacob Harper, who had come with their son, Easton, said the festival gave them something to do.

“He likes going to the park and having fun,” the mother said of their son.

 

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563.

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