Goodells County Park paid host to the 5th annual BlueChiliGrass festival on Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The festival featured three stages: acoustic, bluegrass, and electric, as well as five local restaurant competitors in the chili cook off.
The BlueChiliGrass festival started in the Baron family’s backyard. Last year, an estimated 2,000 patrons sampled the sounds of the festival. And this year Susan Wilson, executive director of Lake Bonisteel Music Association (LBMA), predicts there will be 3,000. This year marks the second year that the festival has rented Goodells County Park due to the event’s increasing size.
“We want kids to get excited about music,” Wilson said. LBMA hopes their 10 percent increase in local sponsors and the rising number of attendees will make them eligible enough to become a non-profit organization. This would allow them to reach their goal of offering music scholarships.
Every sponsor, volunteer, and vendor is local.
New owners of The Raven Café, Sadaat Hossain and Jody Parmann soaked in the sounds of bluegrass on Labor Day while participating in the chili cook off and hosting a tent.
Parmann said the day was not so much about winning the competition or advertising the café, but about enjoying the music and the people. Their spicy chili was beat out by Chef Shell’s Restaurant.
SC4 students Kaitlynn Wiegand, 17, and Emily Fisher, 17, volunteered their time to the festival wherever an extra hand may be needed. Wiegand reported that she enjoyed the festival last year, but her dad, Chris Wiegand, played a large role in getting her and Emily to the park.
Unfortunately the twang of blue grass was cut short by the rumble of thunder. The storm rolled in around 6 p.m. and most of the audience left at the same time.
To learn more about the Lake Bonisteel Music Association go to lbmamusic.org. You can like and follow them on Facebook at Lake Bonisteel Music Association.