Wake County

August 23, 2014

Kids play in the summer snow at Cary's Lazy Days festival to raise money for charity

Children playing in man-made snow at Cary's Lazy Daze festival helped raise money to provide Christmas presents for 2,000 neglected, abused and impoverished children.

Despite heat and humidity that made the temperature feel like it was in the 90s Saturday, it was snowing in downtown Cary – every 20 minutes.

Happy screaming children ran through the “snow” that billowed out of a snow blower every 20 minutes at Cary’s 38th Annual Lazy Daze Arts & Craft Festival. The man-made snow allowed the children to escape the heat while bringing attention to efforts to help foster-care children.

“It’s cool,” said Owen Higgins, 9, of Wake Forest, who estimated he threw 20 snowballs on Saturday. “It’s like it’s raining hail.”

As Owen and other children entered the play area, their parents were asked to donate money to support the Christmas County Fair sponsored by the Friends of Wake County Guardian ad Litem and Project Guardian Angel. The goal is to raise $100,000 through the fair, which will be held Dec. 12-14 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, to provide Christmas presents for 2,000 neglected, abused and impoverished children.

The nonprofit guardian ad litem group supports the 413 trained volunteers appointed by the courts to represent the interests of foster children.

To help promote the Christmas County Fair, the guardian ad litem group is partnering with Imaginigami, a Raleigh branding company, to create a 180-foot-by-10-foot stocking that people can stuff with gifts. Liza Weidle, president of the guardian ad litem group, said representatives from Guinness World Records will come in December to see whether the group has set the record for the world’s largest stocking.

To help raise awareness Saturday of the fair, a 20-foot-by-20-foot snow area was laid out on the lot across from the post office. The snow came courtesy of Snow My Yard.

“The reason I did it is because it’s 100 percent charity, and it all stays in Wake County,” said David Turner, owner of Snow My Yard. “They need it.’

A ton of ice was blown through each hour for the crowd of mostly kids. But Megan Huggins, 32, of Durham, joined in the fun.

“I wanted to see some snow,” she said. “Who says only little kids can have fun?”

Over in the warmer parts of Lazy Daze, an estimated 40,000 people wandered by the arts and crafts vendors, ate the food and listened to entertainers. Each year, proceeds from the festival go back to the community in the form of grants benefiting nonprofit groups and projects in Cary.

More than 370 artists from 15 states sold their goods at the festival. It was the first festival for Mike Smith of Cary, who said that by early afternoon, he met his sales goal for his children’s illustrations.

“It’s a huge forum for local exposure,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for me to meet people locally and shake people’s hands.”

The day started slowly for Kathy King as she displayed her jewelry. But the Cary craftswoman said there’s not as much pressure on her compared with other vendors who traveled from as far away as Florida.

“I’m right down the street,” King said. “It doesn’t cost a lot for me to come. You want to do well, but it’s fun to be here. I won’t have a problem breaking even.”

Vendors were thrilled to see people like Patricia Harmon-Lewis of Angier, who spent all day accumulating a shopping bag full of items. Her bag included two beach paintings and a fish model made from recycled material.

“You don’t see anything that says ‘Made in China’ here,” she said. “It’s all handmade.”

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