17th annual Colorscape draws thousands over the weekend   View the Photo Gallery

NORWICH – Despite some early afternoon showers on Sunday and approximately 20 exhibitor cancellations – due to last week’s widespread flooding – the 17th annual Colorscape Chenango Arts Festivals was ultimately a success, according to the event’s organizers.

Thousands of people made their way to East and West Parks Saturday for the yearly festival’s opening day, which featured a wide variety of musical, culinary, visual, literary and fine arts.

Said Colorscape Executive Director Peggy Finnegan, “I think people were tired of all the rain, all of the flooding and just needed something to feel happy about.”

Local guitarist, singer and songwriter L.J. Gates kicked things off at 10 a.m. Saturday from the new, permanent stage in East Park. The festival’s opening ceremony followed, which saw Evening Sun editor Jeff Genung receive the 2011 “Colors-Cape” for his years of commitment to the event. Performances by Driftwood, The Dust Poets, Ellis Paul, Caravan of Thieves and McPeake filled out the opening day musical entertainment. The gypsy swing of Caravan of Thieves and the Irish folk of McPeak received the most praise from festival-goers, said Finnegan. The beautiful weather on Saturday, she added, contributed to the day’s shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in East Park.

On Sunday, overcast skies and chillier temperatures couldn’t keep dedicated fans of Colorscape from attending. The event’s popular Gospel Show – led by Philadelphia’s Kim and Reggie Harris – had the crowd of die-hard music lovers clapping and singing along. The Guy Mendilow Band took to the stage next, performing its unique, one-of-a-kind blend of old-world music, much of which was performed in its native, Ladino tongue. Sara Milonovich & Daisycutter’s catchy mix of country, folk and pop followed, prior to first-time Colorscape act Runa’s 9/11 tribute and performance, and headliners the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys.

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