What better way to celebrate Labor Day than enjoying great music, chili, and sunshine? That is exactly how hundreds of people chose to spend their labor day at Goodells Park last Monday.
The fourth annual BlueChiliGrass Festival, put on by the Lake Bonisteel Music Association out of Fort Gratiot, featured 17 bands of different genres, vendors selling numerous forms of art, and to top it off, a three hour chili cook off with professional cooks from businesses such as Lynches Irish Tavern, Fuel Woodfire Grill, and Lucky Lunch Catering, all of which are based out of Port Huron.
The bands featured at the festival were split between two stages. One outside where people sprawled out on the lawn or in chairs to enjoy bands such as Butterhair, who put on an energetic performance with classic tunes such as “California Dreamin” and “Locomotion.”
The second stage was inside of a barn, offering shade to audience members, where they could also enjoy music like the classy jazz duo Fifth Avenue, who inspired many to sing along and happily sway to the music they so very much enjoyed.
“Last year we had 500 people attending the festival, this year I expect to reach 1,000 attendees,” said Susan Wilson, Vice President of The Lake Bonisteel Music Association. “This is our first year at Goodells. Last year the member whose house we held it at told us ‘I challenge you to get so big that I have to kick you out.’ We trampled his flower beds and made pathways in his lawn and he said ‘you gotta go’. So this year we had to seek out a larger venue.”
Instead of charging admission for the festival, a large donation bucket was placed at the entrance. “I haven’t seen anyone go past that bucket and not drop in at least a couple of bucks.” Susan said through a beaming smile. In addition to donations, chili samples were sold at 25 cents per sample or at a still reasonable price of $3 a bowl.
“I’ve been coming to this event for a few years,” said returning audience member Beth Stahl. “They have a large variety of music and they promote new groups so it’s always great.”