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May 29, 2014

Folk Festival draws thousands to White Springs

Jasper — The 62nd Annual Florida Folk Festival held over the Memorial Day weekend drew thousands of visitors and performers to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, who braved the heat, the rain and a power outage on Saturday evening to enjoy all the festivities.

With so much going on and so many talented musical artists at all the different stages, there was plenty to enjoy throughout the park. A variety of musical styles were on tap this year to please everyone's taste, from folk to country and even a little reggae. Many brought their dancing shoes and paid no attention to the scorching temperatures to show off their moves.

The midway food vendors stayed busy keeping everyone fed and the Beer Garden near the Amphitheater, sponsored by the Citizens Support Organization, was enlarged this year to keep guests sated with suds and sparkles, as they listened to the long line up of musical performances throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

Many visitors to the event this year complained about the extreme heat as temperatures soared into the 90 plus degree mark during the day. Suggestions were made by several that the event would be better served by holding it in the fall of the year, and they urged event organizers to consider it.

Saturday evening proved to be a bit of a challenge when an area electrical outage forced the use of generator power to keep the show going. According to Park Manager Michelle Waterman, they lost power at 5:50 p.m. and regained it at 9:32 p.m.

“We had generators up and running within about one hour of the outage,” said Waterman.

Most of the vendors and performers at the Folk Festival were also prepared with backup generators, so the show went on as scheduled, officials said. According to Teddy Bear Marshall, “The music never stopped!”

The outage affected not only the park, but a large portion of White Springs, due to an electrical wire coming down north of town near the Woodpecker Route, a local official said. Power was restored within the park just in time for one of the featured performers, J.J. Grey and Mofro, to play, according to one of the guests at the event.

Sunday evening brought a thunderstorm and some soaking rains, but guests and performers found ways around it and managed to enjoy the music and the fun.

As for the electrical outage, Mayor Helen Miller said, “We'll have to have a postmortem on the power issue to determine what really went wrong and why, and how to avoid it in the future.”

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