Some people tried to outrun the rain, some people tried to hide from the rain, and more than a few outsmarted the rain and brought an umbrella — a wise move. No one wanted to walk away because raindrops kept falling on their head. After having been uprooted by COVID last year, a little precipitation was not going to dampen the spirits of Budbreak.
Mother Nature had some plans for the day, she had earlier made Mayfest a damp affair, but the folks who wanted to come out to support Budbreak and sample the wares from local breweries and vineyards are a hearty sort. With cloudy skies that gave way to drizzle and at times more precipitation than some would have liked, organizer Bob Meinecke said the weather had “very little impact as we had people paying to come in as late as 5 p.m.”
Being so close to the event, Meinecke said it is hard for an accurate estimate to be made on the turnout or the proceeds. “Can’t really go there yet. Too many moving parts,” he said. When the dust settles though the results of Budbreak’s return to spring “should be in excess of $20,000.”
While it may fall short of the mark set last year, that is a haul the Rotarians will be happy to accept. When it comes to groups such as the Mount Airy Rotary, they will never achieve a magic donation number level where they say, “Enough, we’re done.”
Even a Budbreak that did not make as much as the last one is still a great success. People in this community will benefit from the hard work of the men and women who organized and staffed the event.
With the rain, it begs the question if this is the sort of event that may be better inside. The plan for the proposed Spencer’s Mill project downtown contains a visitor’s and convention center that seems like it would be tailor-made for an event such as Budbreak. The Greensboro Coliseum is an annual host to a similar beer and wine event, and the capacity of such a venue no doubt leads to some serious donations for the Animal Rescue and Foster Program, their charitable partner.
Meinecke said he did not think the new convention center would or should take the place of having Budbreak out in the open.
“It needs to remain as an outdoor event. We like our location and because we rely heavily on logistical help from Old North State, we don’t see moving to another location,” he said. Given the street fair atmosphere, the music pumping from the stage in the parking lot between Brannock & Hiattt and Old North State, and the added bonus of overflow dancers from the Cinco de Mayo festivities at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History there was a lot to take in.
Main Street in Mayberry took a short trip south of the border for a few minutes as the dancers formed a circle in traditional garb. Some in the crowd stopped in their tracks as they were unaware there was a Cinco de Mayo event ongoing as well. “Now, this is different,” Jon Rawls of Hickory said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
From inside businesses faces popped out of doorways and necks craned for a view as the dancers began while a drummer beat the rhythm.
Old favorite breweries and wineries come back year after year, it is that continuity that Meinecke says many are looking for. Not one to play favorites with the vendors of the event he so carefully helped to organize, he diplomatically deflected when speaking of his favorite wine. “Because drinking pallets vary so much, we make sure there is a broad range to choose from. There is a slight leaning toward sweeter wines.”
The vendors kept the commemorative tasting glasses full, and some long lines at certain tables may have told the tale of which were the favorites. Sue Brownfield reported back that she sold lots of wine and had spoken to happy vendors.
Meinecke was upbeat as always in offering the report from this year’s Budbreak. “There is always lots of events to compete with. We stand out and by all account reached our expectations.”