Rain soaks Duluth festival

DULUTH - Sherri Buell sells jewelry at about 50 shows per year, and of those, there's one she'll never miss - and not just because it's her hometown festival.

"This is one of the top shows we do in the Southeast," Buell said of the Duluth Fall Festival.

Before Saturday afternoon's rainstorm caused several vendors to close their tents, thousands of people perused the booths lining the streets of downtown Duluth.

"(The weather has) been a little squirrely," said Buell, a Duluth resident who owns The Southern Jewelry Box. "But Duluth supports Duluth, and they'll be out here until they can't be."

Kay Montgomery, a longtime volunteer, said the Fall Festival is Duluth's premier event and attendance is a must for many residents. The unique thing about the festival is all proceeds of the volunteer-run event are used for the beautification and development of downtown Duluth, she said.

Duluth residents Ray and Karen Doss have attended the festival every year for at least a decade.

"It's a tradition," Ray Doss said. "(Karen) likes the vendors ... and we see a lot of people we know."

Terry Turner, who recently moved to Duluth from Memphis, Tenn., decided to bring his family to the festival after hearing about it.

"I heard a lot about it," he said. "So far, it's lived up to everything everybody says about it. ... (I came) for the children, but I ended up enjoying myself and the food."

The 27th annual Fall Festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Admission is free. For more information, including a schedule of events and a shuttle service map, visit www.duluthfallfestival.com.