Some Sunfest vendors say the rain hurt their profits

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A sun-filled Sunday at Sunfest found hungry customers, eating grouper at Ray's Gulf Grille.

"It's very popular," said owner, Dan "Ray" Lewis.

Lewis said despite the big crowd, almost half of the festival was a washout for customers. He said the weekday rain cut his profits in half this year, compared to what he earned last year.

"That's the occupational hazard in this business," said Lewis. "We're a weather-friendly business."

Evan White, Vice President of Marketing for Palm Beach Sandals, said they had to shut down their booth for the first time ever, because of the heavy rain on Wednesday.

"The leather and the rain do not mix very well at all," said White. White said their company lost two days of profits.

"We had to secure the tent as much as we could, and pray for the best," White joked.

Natalie Navarro comes to Sunfest just to shop. She buys the five-day pass every year, and racks up the deals.

"We bought keychains, belts, purses," said Navarro. "We like to buy things that are different that stand out."

Navarro said the weekday rain actually helped her get her shopping done a little more quickly.

"The rain stopped when we got here, and there wasn't that many people," she explained. "We came, rain or shine. We love Sunfest, we've been coming since we were 12."

Although Lewis hasn't made the money he was hoping for this year, he said next year, he'll be back.

He will just keep his fingers crossed for a sunny Sunfest.

"Good Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, I'll be here," said Lewis, with a smile.

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