The world comes to Le Mars

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympics may be over, but Le Mars residents still have a chance to be entertained by people from all over the world. There won't be athletes setting new records, but they will be people from all over the world who have sold a lot of records.

The National Old Time Country and Bluegrass Festival -- a gathering of more than 600 artists -- begins Monday, Aug. 25, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 31. Event coordinator Bob Everhart predicts that more than 10,000 people will attend the event at the fairgrounds.

Previously, the festival was held in other Iowa cities, but this year, for the 33rd year of its existence, the old-time music gathering of musicians, singers and dancers of the U.S.'s traditional music will be hosted in Le Mars.

There will be seven indoor and three outdoor stages running from 9 a.m. to midnight each day.

Workshops will also be offered, including beginning songwriting, harmonica, dulcimer, fiddle and yodeling, and beginning and advanced guitar.

It's a tremendous coup for our community to land this festival. Recording artists from as far away as Europe and New Zealand will be performing. The music has its roots in our history, and nearly all forms of popular music of the past 40 years can trace, in one form or another, their roots back to the music that will be performed this week at the fairgrounds.

Part of the reason this festival is here is the hard work of local musicians. Another reason they have come to Le Mars is the support our community has shown by allocating Hotel/Motel Sales Tax Dollars. Events like this are reason that the sales tax was passed. The mission of finding events that promote Le Mars and bring people to town is at the heart of the grant funding that is done from the proceeds of the tax.

There will be extra people in town this week. We welcome them, and hope they enjoy their visit. It should be perfect weather and a fun time for all.

And, as Lester Flatts and Earl Scruggs would say, we certainly hope "y'all came back - ya hear."