If it's August in Osceola, that translates to "Osceola Bluegrass Festival." The popular event continues through the weekend at Fern Hunsberger Park, corner of Rogers and Lamport streets.
Like the Blueberry Festival, the Osceola Business Association's annual event needed a "thing." So they chose bluegrass back in 1991, several years after they launched a general community event, chairman Tom Kruegar said.
Decades later, the association’s annual Osceola Bluegrass Festival draws nearly 10,000 people each year.
“The action didn’t have any focal point,” Kruegar said of the event’s first few years, before they rallied around the bluegrass theme.
Crowds of people gathered Friday night at Fern Hunsberger Park for the free event, setting up camp in the grass with their family or browsing the deep-fried food options amid fiddles and guitar twangs.
“It’s a family tradition,” said Barbara Evans, who stood with her daughter and two young children.
They shared a large cinnamon sugar funnel cake.
Across the grassy field in a parking lot, Kenny Beverly plucked at an upright bass, an instrument nearly as large as him. “If you want the hillbilly name for it, it’s a doghouse bass,” he said.
Beverly has played at the festival many times. “We come to listen and jam in the parking lot,” he said.
The festival began Friday and concludes Sunday, featuring music all day today and in the morning and afternoon on Sunday.
The bluegrass bands Misty Mountain, Niles group Twenty Three and Dave White & Company played Friday.
Saturday and Sunday feature several more groups.
“The bluegrass thing is huge,” Kruegar said, noting that the event attracts people as far out as Dayton, Ohio.
Overall, though, Kruegar said, the event is a community experience at heart.
Osceola resident Lynne Jones attended with her older neighbor.
“We might as well be mother and daughter,” Jones said laughing, as the two women looked for other friendly faces. They come every year. “It’s amazing how many people come out,” Jones said.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: