The Paris Area Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Springtime in Paris event last Saturday. However, the weather didn’t get the memo.
Instead of spring, it was winter in Paris Saturday. Snow, sleet and rain fell. Temperatures started out in the 20s and only reached the upper 40s late in the afternoon.
The winter weather greatly hampered attendance at the event. PACC Executive Director Tonya Baumgartner said attendance Saturday was “maybe 500 people.” Last year, in perfect spring weather, the event drew an estimated 3,500 people.
Baumgartner said the weather may force a change in the event’s date going forward.
“We might reevaluate the date,” she said. “We might have it later in April, but still, April weather can be unpredictable at times.”
Baumgartner said she knew the weather was going to be a problem when she arrived on Courthouse Square at 6 a.m. Saturday to put up signs.
“It was snowing and that was my first sign the weather wasn’t going to cooperate,” she said.
Later, vendors were setting up and sleet was falling. The 10 a.m. opening ceremony took place under very cloudy skies with light sleet or rain falling sporadically. There were very few people on hand for the ceremonies.
“Obviously, our attendance was low,” Baumgartner said. “Only one-third of our vendors showed up. We only had three of the seven entertainers show up and all of that was obviously because of the weather. We had some vendors who arrived, set up but didn’t stay all day. Our food vendors did well. They sold a lot of hot chocolate.”
As the day wore one, the weather improved a little. By 3 p.m. — one hour before the event shut down — the sun came out and temperatures were in the upper 40s.
“Obviously, things would have been better if the weather had been like it was at the end all day,” Baumgartner said. “Well, we survived.”