By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD, Ind. — The Glass Festival is the premiere event every year in Elwood.
Event organizer Marcy Fry is working to make sure it lives up to that billing.
Fry has been responsible for coordinating the past three events, and this year she was the architect of the largest festival on record after 42 years running.
Boasting 32 craft vendors, 38 food-court stops and about 68 miscellaneous other tents, the Glass Festival has grown 18 percent just from 2012. In her first year (2011) coordinating the festival, Fry kept the status quo just so she could get the hang of the job. Last year, she worked to expand the event but still kept her plans conservative. She said she really wanted to take the next step this year.
“I wanted to get back to family fun, and that means listening. Listening to people who come, listening to vendors. I want to give them a voice,” Fry said.
The Elwood native leads a board of 13 directors who help organize the festival every year. After working in Anderson for years, Fry returned home and took the job of executive director of the Elwood Chamber of Commerce. She calls the job a perfect fit.
She said she loves to plan and organize the Glass Festival, but the greatest help comes from her volunteers and subcommittee members.
“I don’t want to take any of the limelight from those people. They all work so hard. We only have about two weeks off until we’re back at it again, planning for 2014,” Fry said.
And the volunteers said they’re seeing the fruits of Fry’s hard work. Roger Larrison, who helped man the Glass Festival tent near the entrance, said Fry is very organized and has the event plans down to a science.
“I’m pretty sure she dreams about the Glass Festival when she’s asleep,” he said.
One of Fry’s most important lieutenants is Pam Gish, who works directly with the vendors while Fry works with police, Homeland Security and the Board of Public Safety. Gish was also tasked with helping to expand the festival.
“This year we added water and more electricity for the vendors, tried to increase the variety, and we really wanted to take the entertainment to a new level,” Gish said.
Specifically, the committee added country music duo Cook and Bell, who have opened for groups such as Lonestar, Montgomery Gentry and Rascal Flats. The Midwest-touring duo performed on Saturday night on the St. Vincent Mercy Hospital Main Stage.
With the recent expansion of the small-town festival, additional measures had to be taken to accommodate the influx of people into Elwood. Fry said she’s been working closely with police and Homeland Security to keep festival-goers safe. Elwood police chief Sam Hanna said his department has been planning for the event for months, and the festival grounds have a 24-hour-a-day police and EMT presence.
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Today's schedule Events scheduled for today at the Glass Festival in Elwood's Callaway Park: u 9-10:30 a.m.: Big Time Believers breakfast u 11 a.m.-noon: Community Worship Service on the main stage u Noon-2 p.m.: Christian music on main stage u 1-2 p.m.: Uncommon Quartet performs u 2-3 p.m.: Liberated performs u 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Elwood Panther Band Boosters chicken-and-noodle dinner u 3 p.m.: Cutest baby contest winners announced on main stag