Jazz Festival vendors welcome sunny weather

Tropical Storm Beryl cut event short last year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This may be the perfect Memorial Day weekend for any outdoor plans.  But just one year ago many people were heading indoors as Tropical Storm Beryl shortened and cancelled many local events.

One of those events was the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, where the city cancelled the final day as the storm descended on the coast of Northeast Florida. This year vendors and people returning to the festival say they are glad things have turned around.

IMAGES: Great weather for jazz

"The weather couldn't be nicer," says Shirley Tschannen, who has attended the festival for the last 30 years. "It's a cool breeze off the river and the sun and sky is beautiful blue you couldn't ask for a better day."

That description is a far cry from the weather during last years festival, when Tropical Storm Beryl's winds and rain cut the festivities one day short.

"Last year was a little scary," Tschannen says. "Because from the beginning of the festival we knew there was a hurricane out west."

The sunshine is a welcome sight to Kelvin Henderson who drove 10 hours from Maryland to sell his original artwork. With better weather he's expecting to sell even more pieces than he did last year.

"It was rain, it was wet people, and people were cold," Henderson remembers. "Saturday night we had to shut down early because of the fact that the storm was coming in. So from this year to last year I'll take this year."

But it's not just businesses who come into town for the festival that are happy about the weather, it's also businesses that call downtown home.

At Chamblin's Uptown Bookstore and Cafe, the sunny weather means exposure to an even larger crowd.

"The more people downtown of course the more people to come in here," says owner Ron Chamblin. "We not only sell books that day we get people who are introduced to not only us but downtown."

From stormy, to sunny, a change everyone here at the Jazz Festival is welcoming with open arms.