The Greater L.A. Festival is normally a bridge between summer and autumn, and this was made even more obvious this year when a sudden autumn chill swept through Lansing on Saturday, preceding a heavy rainfall that halted the event.
The annual festival is co-sponsored by the Lansing American Legion and the Lansing Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. This year’s festival took place at the Lansing American Legion ball field on Friday and Saturday.
The festival was a gathering of several local customers and merchants who sold both food and crafts. Also in attendance were several mountain and gospel musicians who played on stage during the event.
Although rain did eventually put a dent in the festival, it didn’t dampen the spirits of some of the merchants.
“We’ve had pretty good day so far,” said Tabetha Howell of Tab-A-Dees in West Jefferson. “The event has had pretty good attendance today.”
Charlotte Elliott, an American Legion auxiliary member, said, “It’s a shame it had to rain today; that’s really going to hurt our donations.”
The field is leased to the Lansing American Legion by the Ashe County Board of Education.
Ashe County Parks and Recreation no longer uses the Lansing ball field to host any programs, so the maintenance of the property falls squarely on the shoulders of the Lansing American Legion.
According to Elliott, the Lansing American Legion wants the field to be used for good causes. At the same time, maintaining the property and hosting events does have its financial costs.
In order to make enough money to hold the Greater L.A. Festival, the American Legion relied on donations gathered at the entrance of the festival.
According to Elliott, the donations this year probably won’t cover the expenses accrued for having the event.
For instance, renting the giant inflatable slide for the festival ended up costing the American Legion $500. According to Elliott, the Lansing American Legion didn’t even receive enough in donations to cover that expense by itself. Because the slide doesn’t bring people to the festival, Elliot said, “We probably won’t have the slide next year.”
As Elliott said, the Lansing American Legion wants to put the property to good use. One use of the property is leasing the picnic shelter to host special occasions.
At the moment, the Legion accepts donations as payment for rentals. However, according to Elliot, the Legion may need to start charging a fee for renting the shelter.
Elliott said the Greater L.A. Festival will make another return next year.