• Last modified 253 days ago (June 20, 2019)


Blackout fails to dim spirits during annual bluegrass festival

Staff writer

Even as a transformer failure was blacking out the county lake campgrounds, the youngest member of a bluegrass band to strum an instrument and join the fun Saturday at Marion County Lake annual bluegrass festival was 2-year-old Carter Tillman.

Carter stepped onto the stage as his family band, Prospect Bluegrass, entertained, picked up his ukulele, and joined in playing music.

His father, Colton Tillman, is one of the lead musicians.

Bluegrass fan Rhonda Fleming traveled from Wichita for the festival. She said she follows the bluegrass festival loop along with most of her friends.

She’s gotten to know many band members and other fans.

“I’ve met a lot of people at the bluegrass festival in Winfield,” Fleming said.

Although temperatures in the upper 80s kept large crowds from gathering in front of the stage Saturday, people gathered in what shade they could find and came and went during the event. A larger crowd gathered on the grass when temperatures dropped.

Park and Lake superintendent Isaac Hett said all 56 electric campsites filled up Thursday in advance of the festival and about 50 more campers arrived before the festival.

An electric transformer at the campground, apparently overloaded by a full campground, failed Saturday. The transformer began smoking and leaking liquid shortly after 7 p.m., and power to the campground was off more than five hours while Westar Energy employees installed a new one. Power to the stage was not affected.

This year’s band lineup included genres other than bluegrass.

Several vendors were at the festival, selling hats and western wear, snow cones, Mexican food, and funnel cakes.

The lake’s Chat and Dine club held a bake sale and Friends of the Marion County Lake had a silent auction.

A cornhole tournament next to the lake hall drew a steady crowd of players. Bands included The Sweets, North Forty Bluegrass and Gospel, Grody Riggins, 80 Proof Engine, Pretend Friend, Prospect Bluegrass, ClusterPluck, and The Dewayn Brothers.

Last modified June 20, 2019