PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Though the rain dampened attendance, the new sand surface at the Rose Festival's City Fair is working well -- and the word is spreading.
While a little squish remains, the soft scraping of the sand surface is performing as expected. Getting around is not nearly as bad as it used to be.
"If you've ever been on the beach playing with sand castles, you know that all you have to do is smooth the sand out and it drains away and you've got a nice flat surafce again," one official told KOIN 6 News.
For four years, Allen Bates has driven to City Fair from Eugene and he said the sand surface really helps.
"It used to be a muddy mess," he said. "They got the sand down so that really helps a lot."
In 2007, organizers spent a lot of money on weather insurance for Centennial Celebration. It cost a lot but it paid off. The Rose Festival also bought weather insurance a few times, but the expense and the specific parameters -- right down to which hours of the day it might rain -- make it unlikely they'll buy it again anytime soon.
Rose Festival organizers are banking on sand as their insurance policy.
It can't stop the rain, but it makes it more livable.
Organizers said Monday's slow down at City Fair is not a concern, and concert attendance on the first two weekends "exceeded what we did last year already."
Jackie Davis didn't let the rain stop her. "I got my hoodie on and he's got an umbrella, so we're good," she said.
The folks at the Bates Steak House didn't come to City Fair to play in the sand. They're here to make money and they knew there might be a bit less when the rains came.
"We wake up in the morning and say we get to sleep in for another hour, get the barbecue going a bit later," one person said. "You can totally tell when it's raining. You just don't get the people out here."
City Fair organizers said they don't keep a running tally of attendance figures, but will tally it up at the end of the three week festival.
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