Summerfest growing in popularity |

Summerfest growing in popularity

African dance, Western music and flying knives are just a few of the activities planned for the third annual Hayden Valley Summerfest to be held Saturday at Hayden Town Park.

The event, which is free, features jugglers, live bands, a dance group and a musician, as well as arts and craft vendors, face painters and food vendors selling pizza, barbecued beef, ice cream and other festival fare.

The festival starts with a lively beat at 10:30 a.m. when Robin Getter’s Afro Dance and Drum Ensemble takes the stage.

To the rhythm of African drums, the ensemble will teach children a traditional African dance and song.

African dance differs from other forms, Getter said, because it has a functional, everyday component and is not purely performance art.

“African dances relate to things in nature and to human interactions such as weddings or a dance to welcome people into your home or village,” Getter said.

“Although it’s geared toward kids, adults are welcome to participate,” she said.

The juggling troupe We’re Not Clowns will then entertain the crowd at 11:15 a.m. The troupe has performed around the world including the 2000 International Jugglers’ Association Festival in Montreal, Canada, where it received a silver medal in the team competition. It performed at the Hayden festival last year and said members said they have an exciting show planned for Saturday.

“We’ll juggle fire and sharp things, and there’ll be audience participation and other feats of daring,” founding-member Scott Parker said.

Several bands will perform at the festival, including 3-Wire at noon, the Blue Rooster Band at 2:45 p.m. and the Smokehouse Band at 5:45 and 7:30 p.m. until dusk. Comedian Washboard Annie will perform at 1:45 and 4:30 p.m. along with magician Rob Walker at 7 p.m.

Along with the band’s usual cowboy and Western music, Smokehouse member Greg Scott will sing his original song, “Hayden’s Where My Heart Is,” which is the theme of the festival. The town’s atmosphere, Western heritage and the Yampa River inspired the song, he said.

This is the third year Smokehouse has performed at the festival, and the band’s audience grew about 50 percent in that time, Scott said.

“If it grows like it did the first year to the second, it’s going to be a great crowd,” he said.

Event organizer Lindsay Heer agreed that the event continues to grow and said organizers anticipate about 200 people this year.

“It’s been wonderful. The local people have really enjoyed having art and entertainment in their own back yard,” Heer said.

–To reach Kristin Bjornsen, call 879-1502

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