Last week was the 38th annual Walnut Grove Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas and we were there. This is the third time I've ever attended this festival and I love it more every time. It starts on Wednesday and ends on Sunday of the third weekend in September. The first year I went it was 110 degrees in the shade and I nearly fried. The second time I went it was so cold that I had to buy a sweatshirt with a hood and wear every stitch of clothes I brought under it just to survive. This year, third time's the charm I guess, the weather was perfect.
There are five stages (but one of them isn't a sanctioned one if you get my drift) (and if you don't get my drift it's down in the far campground where the funny cigarette smoke forms a cloud over everything and I don't dare go). The music is really a mix of bluegrass, folk, cowboy, with an Irish band thrown in and even a country song or two. There's always a gospel song in every event and on Sunday that's the favored music of the day. You take your lawn chairs and move from stage to stage depending on which group you want to hear that hour. Tie dyed clothes are real popular and every other person attending is carrying a banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin or autoharp. It's a family affair with lots of babies and small children skipping along beside the motorized chairs of the elderly. The food is to die for - turkey legs and corn on the cob, barbecue, reuben sandwiches, fried fish and shrimp, Greek food, Chinese food, and best of all, funnel cakes. I ate one every day. Can you say gained 5 pounds? They even had homemade ice cream and kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade. Oh my goodness.
It's a time for friends and family and community. People joined together singing folk songs and the pride in our country and prayers for our fighting men and women were mentioned by every group. Events like this remind me of the sixties when we went to drive in movies and camped in tents by the river and played in the neighborhood till dark thirty. It soothes my soul. If you've never been to a bluegrass festival find one near you - there are a lot of them all during the year. It's a lot like going to the county fair - you'll find yourself tired, but refreshed, at the end of the day. You'll find yourself saying, "America is alive and well - praise God!"