"I'm here to make some dough," said Hap Clauss. "I'm 75 years old, living on a fixed income, and I need a few extra bucks."
A clown riding a unicycle and trailing a string of balloons pedaled past Clauss' table of Christman ornaments and down a row of booths inside Groveton High School.
Outside, the Groveton High School German Club was peddling charcoal broiled bratwurst. Business, according to rain-drenched Angela Lawter, president of the club, was poor.
Despite a cold rain that showed few signs of letting up, the Third Annual Groveton Community Day was off and rolling.
Held at Groveton High School last weekend, it was billed as an event to "pull Groveton together as a community."
"It's also to overcome some of the bad publicity we've received in the past," said Don Ford, principal of Groveton High. "Groveton has always been associated with the Rte. 1 corridor. While rte. 1 does run through Groveton, it's not representative of the community as a whole. We want to build on this day."
Students made up most of the festival goers, but there also were the requisite number of fathers of fathers with five o'clock shadows and baggy eyes being pulled around by children who got them up that morning. they were all treated to a spectacle of balloons, buttons and baked goods reminiscent of any first-rate church bazaar.
While all outdoor activities, including a parade, had to be canceled because of rain, most exhibits and entertainment were housed dryly inside the high school. Booths representing county agencies, local-health organizations and a myriad of other groups jammed the halls.
The Mahogany Club, a group of black students from Groveton High, was singing the praises of its candied apples. Chinese food was being served by the J.E.B. Stuart High School International Club, while other groups were selling everything from Norwegian clothing to Guatemalan pottery.
For entertainment, there were several dancing groups, Sun Lin, a senior at Mount Vernon High who arrived recently from Korea, performed a "fan dance." Dressed in a red and silver vest and flowing white robes similar, she said, to those worn by the wives of Korean kings of old, Sun went through a series of smooth, ballet-like movements, while feathering fans to the music in the background.
Elaine Bronez, one of two coordinators of community day, said attendance was slightly less than last year, but that she expected at least 20,000 people.
"I think it's a huge success, despite the rain," said Helen Hester, who also helped coordinate the events. "The agencies are tremendously pleased and love the exposure."
A worker for a local candidate jokingly bemoaned the fact that she had lined up aMercedes converible for the candidate to ride in the canceled parade.
Few seemed to care though. The Groveton Elementary School was making a bundle off their indoor putting green. And across the room, Chris Grosson, a second grader at Hollis Meadows Elementary School, was limbering up his arm for the darts toss.
Through the crowd was thin, it appeared that Groveton could look forward to a Fourth Annual Community Day -- barring snow.