The River's Edge Activity Center outside of Fly was filled with the sound of toe-tapping, knee-slapping bluegrass and country music Friday evening during the Bluegrass and Old Country Annual Music Festival.
The three-day festival kicked off Thursday evening and continues through Saturday, with a number of different bands scheduled to perform between 9 a.m. and midnight.
"We have different bands scheduled every 50 minutes," said Kim Maienknecht- Weddle, one of the organizers of the event. "Some of them are local. ... We have one band that comes from Mannington, (W.Va.), and some come from northern Ohio - we get some really good bands."
ASHLEY HILL The Marietta Times
The band True Country performs during the Bluegrass and Old Country Annual Music Festival at the River’s Edge Activity Center in Fly Friday evening. The festival continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Ray Cooker, of Mannington, is the lead guitarist for the band Rockin' Country, which is scheduled to perform at 9 a.m. Saturday. He said he has been a musician for 50 years and band members Karen Evans, Charlie Ruble and Tom Paugh have been performing for 32, 55 and 30 years, respectively.
"This is my fourth time performing here," Cooker said. "The people really like us."
"We like the people - they're very friendly," added Evans. "They have a good sound system and a lot of talent."
If you go:
- What: Bluegrass and Old Country Annual Music Festival.
- Where: River's Edge Activity Center, just outside of Fly on Ohio 7.
- When: 9 a.m. through midnight Saturday.
- Cost: No admission fee and no fee to watch bands. Cost of food varies.
Besides the music, there's also plenty of food at the festival, but there is a charge for it, unlike the free admission. Camp sites with electricity are available and donations are also accepted, Maienknecht-Weddle said.
"There's a free-will donation at the gate and usually sometime during the evening, they'll go around the auditorium with a donation bucket," she said. "It goes into paying the electric on the building and utilities and that sort of thing."
Maienknecht-Weddle noted that her parents, Norman and Eileen Maienknecht, own the activity center and have been holding the festival for 15 years. There is also a bluegrass show held there the first Saturday night of every month, she added.
Attendance at the shows and festival varies, depending on what other activities are being held in the area, and the state of the economy.
"It has fallen off somewhat with the economy," Maienknecht-Weddle said. "I remember when we first started, it was packed and there were a bunch of people standing outside. ... But it feels like it's picking back up again."
About 100 people were in the auditorium Friday night, and more were at campsites outside.
Sardis resident Ronald Langsdorf. Langsdorf said he's been attending the festivals and monthly shows since the beginning.
"I like country music, and I like bluegrass," he said. "I enjoy music - I could listen to that and go to sleep."
Husband and wife Harry and Donna Day, also of Sardis, said they, too, go to the concerts often.
"It's just a nice, relaxed setting," Donna Day said.
Maienknecht-Weddle described the event as "family oriented," and said many of the same people attend year after year.
"We get a lot of the older people - this is cheap entertainment for them," she said. "They can come and sit all evening and have a hot dog, and it's not costing them a bunch of money. Most of the people that come are local people, and they really look forward to this."