SummerFest Opens

ST. MARYS — Music filled the air in Memorial Park Thursday night as SummerFest kicked off under picture-perfect conditions.

While the threat of rain forced the opening ceremony under the entertainment tent, a cool breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s greeted those in attendance for Supper and Sounds and the kick off of SummerFest. St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kelly Kill said the evening was perfect.

“It’s going beautiful,” Kill told The Evening Leader. “It’s not hot like it has been in the past. We had some rain but it cleared up, and we’ve got everything ready to go and we are ready for the weekend.”

In recent years, warm, humid weather impacted attendance at Supper and Sounds. However on Thursday, a large crowd packed the entertainment tent and spilled over outside.

“This is a perfect night for Supper and Sounds,” Kill said. “The heat is hard on the performers and it’s hard on the people sitting in the park in the sun, getting hot and sweaty. This is just perfect.”

With the forecast calling for upper 70s in the days and mid 50s at night, Kill said she is expecting a large crowd throughout SummerFest.

“Historically when we’ve had pleasant evenings and moderate days, the crowds have been here,” Kill said. “When you have good weather, people want to be out.”

Following the national anthem and flag raising, Mayor Patrick McGowan welcomed the crowd to the start of SummerFest.

“As mayor of the city of St. Marys, I’d like to welcome you to SummerFest 2012,” McGowan said. “I want you to have a very good time down here, enjoy yourselves and be safe.”

McGowan also gave a brief update on the city.

“The city is doing well,” McGowan said. “We are trying to support more activities like this and we will make a few changes as we go along ... Have fun and enjoy the music.”

Chamber President Derek Vogel told the crowd SummerFest is the largest fundraiser for the chamber. The event generates revenue that allows the organization to operate each year.

“We are in our 60th year as a chamber,” Vogel said. “We want to thank you for all your support and we want you to have a great time this weekend. Everyone pray for great weather.”

After introducing the royal courts for the SummerFest Queen and Little Miss SummerFest pageants, AC Swing took to the stage to round out the evening. SummerFest resumes again today with a full slate of activities. For a schedule of events, visit