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Music in the Rain

An outpour of love for music was met with downpours of rain at Saturday's Fourth Annual Fall Into Downtown Makers Market & Blues Festival.

The event, hosted by Downtown Dickinson Association, attracted as many as 1,000 people throughout the day, which opened with a Makers Market and strong winds and continued with local music and heat.

As the crowd grew, two of the food trucks ran out of food.

That evening, with Jennifer Lyn & The Groove Revival on the main stage, playing "All Along the Watchtower," a surprise storm struck.

"There were huge lightning strikes all through the sky, above and around us, and then there was thunder. And the skies opened up and we had a downpour," Jennifer Strange, DDA executive director, said.

The band stopped and people in the audience huddled in doorways or under umbrellas until the rain passed.

Groove Revival played another two songs before the next rush of rain.

The audience waited, though, and at about 9 p.m., a half hour after the show was supposed to have ended, the band played their last set.

"It was just so cool, the way that everybody stuck together," Strange said. "There was still a very sizeable crowd who stuck it out through the rain, dancing, and there was music playing and the food trucks were still open."

She added, "It was just a very positive community experience."

The event for the first time including a maker's market, kids' zone, and Stage B, highlighting such local talent as Prairie Rose Chorus and DFy Project.

"One of the reasons DDA supports and produces downtown events is to create a sense of community and neighborliness," Strange said. "The reason is to showcase the types of activities and art and artists that we have in our community."

Tori Barnum, co-owner of downtown Dickinson's The Rock, operated the Kids' Zone, which boasted a water splash park, bouncy castle, and a thousand water balloons.

"We've been getting wet this whole time," Barnum said. "We've kind of had to regulate the kids a little bit. The water balloons probably would have been gone in the first five minutes."

The event also brought together local businesses and customers.

CQ Engraving & Gifts, which will open a store in September, joined other tables along First Street.

"It's been good. Windy, but good," Charline Quillian, CQ owner, said. "There's been a lot of foot traffic. It's been worth my while coming out here."

The annual festival was inspired by an event once hosted by Dickinson State University's Heritage Foundation, Kristi Schwartz, DDA board president, wrote in a statement.

The DDA took over the event in 2015.

"We felt there was still a lot of interest in blues music and wanted to continue that community tradition," Schwartz said. "We hope our events provide an opportunity for folks to enjoy cultural and performing arts, live music, artisanship and just gathering with neighbors for a day of fun."

She added, "The bonus is that everyone gets to be part of the continued revitalization of downtown Dickinson."

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