Monday, September 22, 2008

Fun in Winfield

Who would've thought a deaf person would have such fun at a bluegrass festival?

After years of my neighbors talking about Winfield and telling me I needed to attend, I finally decided to go this year. I don't know what took me so long!

This year was the Walnut Valley Festival's 37th year, and it was quite a ride. "Land Rush" was on September 11 -- it's the morning when people literally careen into the campground to claim their spots for the festival. My neighbor George secures the "Comfortable Shoes" camp area in the Pecan Grove at Winfield, and I was excited to camp there this year.

But it wasn't to be: the Walnut (I think!) River flooded over the banks and engulfed the campgrounds and fairgrounds the next day. Campers scrambled to evacuate -- some ended up at WalMart (nice), and others at the Winfield Lake.

The Lake turned out to be THE place to be this year -- Stage 5 and 7, usually in the Pecan Grove, moved out there, along with thousands of campers. And I mean thousands -- tents mushroomed up everywhere as the weekend progressed.

I arrived Tuesday evening, ready to camp and party. And party I did, as people picked music, visited and partied. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning for five nights straight. And I only fell down once!

There are pictures. I didn't take any -- but will share a few that others took if they are parent-safe.

I got to meet Linda Tilton, who has been interpreting at the Festival for more than 20 years. It was SO nice to be able to sit and watch a performance and simply absorb the music instead of straining to lipread the singers.

Shannon Wurst and 3 Penny Acre were part of the Comfortable Shoes camp, and both Shannon and two members of the band won (different) categories in the Best New Song contest. Kate Baer, my favorite jewelry designer, won the Arts & Crafts section.

So many stories. I'm planning to go again next year -- it'll take me a while to recover from this one, though!

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