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Community excited to have Norfolk Harborfest return in person

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Posted at 9:16 PM, Jun 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-12 14:54:48-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Smiling faces were seen throughout Downtown Norfolk Saturday afternoon due to the 46th annual Norfolk Harborfest being back in full swing at Towne Point Park.

News 3 crews went to the festival and met with attendees to see how they feel about its in person return.

The Norfolk Harborfest is the longest-running free maritime festival. Last year's festival took place virtually due to COVID-19. Many folks are taking advantage this year of the great food and family-free activities.

One woman traveled two hours to be at the festival Saturday.

"Wonderful, wonderful feeling to be out again. You know I think it's great to be out again, as you can see everyone is having a great time. The music is just awesome," Joanna Thomas-Pritchett said.

Pritchett originally had plans to be on the Spirit of Norfolk for her high school reunion, but she walked right into Harborfest.

The event is catered to people of all ages.

One girl says her favorite thing about the festival is the food.

Many vendors are excited to whip up their specialties to feed attendees.

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"As a vendor, you just want to see lots of people, lots of foot traffic, people having a good time. We want to see lines and hopefully, it flows into the Harborfest tomorrow evening," a first-time vendor at the festival said.

The sausage and hot dog owners say this is their first rodeo at the festival and that they have made sure to start preparing weeks in advance.

"Based on the numbers of previous years before 2019, what the previous owner had done in sells and what the expectations of the crowds to be here over the weekend," the vendor said.

The owner of Joysicles, Monica Gilliam, says she's just excited to bounce back from the heavy impact of the pandemic.

"I've been trying so long to be here, so it's just like having fun. So thankful for being here, It's good music, good fun, so what's better than that," Gilliam said.

She says although she's been serving up many of her "joysicles" she's more concerned about the spike in sales this weekend carrying over throughout the year.

"I feel as a business owner how people are coming out and supporting local mean the world to us," Gilliam said.