The rains of Sept. 29 did little to dampen the spirit at the Carmel International Arts Festival. While the crowd was lesser than that of the picture-perfect previous day, which created a wall-to-wall throng in something of a “last blast of summer,” there still were shoppers and gazers, umbrellas in hand, milling about until the last minute the second day. Such is the popularity of the event that shoppers were queuing up approximately 90 minutes before the official opening, and that was heartening to see. We continue to be amazed by the work of festival chair Rosemary Waters and her all-volunteer staff. From setup, to artisan check-in, to the actual event, to teardown and cleanup, we witnessed it all come off without a hitch. This edition of the festival, weather be damned, was as good as any that preceded it in terms of organization, artisan offerings and diversity of entertainment. We were proud to have been a sponsor again, and, as we told Rosemary, we’ll continue to be such until she throws us out. Having the festival in the Arts & Design District makes great sense to us, even though some merchants say they experience “take-away” from their businesses for the weekend; it still gives them branding opportunities by virtue of their location, and we hope it will come back to them many times over. What also struck us about this run of the festival was that there were no thefts reported overnight or at any time during the two days, not that it ever has been a problem. The Carmel Police Dept. was quietly represented during festival hours, and the department’s Explorers held down the fort during off hours. Hats off to those folks, for they made the experience all the more pleasant for visiting artists. Mark your calendars now for Sept. 27-28, 2014, because the festival will be back bigger and better than ever.