"It's very, very important for our town to have Westfest be successful," said Mimi Montgomery Irwin, who owns the Village Bakery and is active in the Kiwanis Club. "This year, more than ever, it's important that it be successful — not just from a monetary standpoint, but from a support standpoint."
Organizers expect more than the usual 20,000-22,000 attendees.
Across town from the festival grounds, the devastated neighborhood around the fertilizer plant is slowly being transformed. Crews are still cleaning up the blast site.
Across the from the fertilizer plant, an apartment complex and a nursing home, where many people were rescued, have been leveled. Plans call for breaking ground on a 120-bed nursing home early next year across the street from the old one.