Williamsburg locals, tourists brave the heat for weekend plans

Staff writer

Temperatures in the Williamsburg area reached to near 100 degrees with a heat index of around 114 degrees Saturday as residents and locals carried on with weekend plans.

The excessive heat warning for Williamsburg, James City and York counties will extend to 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The high is expected to be about 101 degrees.

Heat index values, which refer to the temperature’s real-feel when humidity is taken into account, will continue to hit between 110 to 115 degrees until Sunday afternoon. Temperatures will drop out of the 90s on Tuesday.

Hundreds still showed up to the weekly Williamsburg Farmers Market, a normal turnout Executive Director Tracy Frey said. But people stayed glued to the shaded sides of the street and many opted to leave their dogs at home. Some vendors, such as Chocolate Cravings, kept products in display coolers.

Frey said a few vendors skipped the event due to the heat and the organization is offering free water to vendors and attendees for the rest of the summer.

Laurel Daen and Colin Jones, locals who frequent the farmers market said the best way to survive the heat is to embrace it.

“Gosh, we just went to an organ concert at the Wren Chapel. (We’ll) probably grill out, embrace it,” Daen said. “I actually thought the farmers market wasn’t even going to be on.”

Some local events were canceled due to the heat, such as the Family Splash Party at Chickahominy Riverfront Park pool, which was rescheduled for August 10.

Joel and Brandie VandeWerken and their four kids were visiting from Massachusetts to camp at Chickahominy Park and have had to change plans due to the excessive heat warning.

“We tried to go canoeing this morning but we couldn’t because it was closed because of the heat index. We’re having a hard time sleeping because it’s so hot and we’ve been swimming every day which wasn’t necessarily the plan,” Brandie VandeWerken said. “I think we’re going to go to the ocean tomorrow. It’s just too hot to do anything else.”

The first annual LUX Ice Cream Festival successfully kicked off National Ice Cream Month Saturday, Lux Events Owner Shannon Combs said. Although a few vendors had to drop out because of the heat and more potential attendees may have stayed home.

The event in New Town featured pony rides, bounce houses, an indoor magic show and ice cream vendors such as Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, who kept everything cold in a freezer with dry ice.

“So far, so good. I just can’t tell because I’m so hot. But everything came together nicely. I didn’t expect it to be the hottest weekend, seriously,” Combs said. “My goal when creating this company was to bring these activities on this side of the water.”

Brittany Niper and Nicole Chattaway were visiting the area from New Jersey and decided ice cream would help them beat the heat.

“Going inside, anywhere that has air conditioning, we’re getting some ice cream,” Niper said. “Keep moving, the more you walk the better it is.”

“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing,” Chattaway said.

SaraRose Martin, sararose.martin@vagazette.com, 757-243-3685, @SaraRoseMartin.

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