Bluegrass musicians will serenade state park audience
For more than a decade, Laurel Hill State Park has been home to the Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival.
“This is our 12th year,” park operations manager Michael Mumau says.
Along with sponsor the Friends of Laurel Hill, Mumau helped start the popular festival, scheduled this year for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 17 and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 18.
“It coincided with my arrival (in 2007). I think initially what I wanted to do was create a signature event for Laurel Hill, not just for people to come and visit, but the residents around the park,” Mumau says.
“One of the early concepts was that it would, and always would, be free,” he adds.
The Somerset County festival will feature seven bands, artisans, food vendors, period re-enactors, a cornhole tournament, children’s activities and wagon rides.
Bands include Blue Steel, The Mosley Brothers, Allegheny Drifters, Colebrook Road, Robert Mabe Band, Well Strung and Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers.
The choice of music is twofold, Mumau says, acknowledging he’s a fan of bluegrass.
“Also, that music is part of our region and cultural history within Appalachia. There are a lot of great (bluegrass) bands in our area,” he says.
The outdoor event gives the bands, many of whom return each year, a place to play outside of a “smoky bar,” Mumau says.
“The musicians love the venue. The crowd that comes is very in tune to what they are doing,” he says.
Also planned is the Mountain Laurel 5K run/walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 18.
This year’s new course is described as “flatter,” and “less elevated,” starting at the beach parking lot and traversing the Copper Kettle hiking and biking trail.
Race day fee is $25. Funds raised support park projects.
Projects range from “brick and mortar,” he says, to public programs.
“Our Friends group is very active in supporting and giving back to the park,” Mumau says. The group recently financed the digitization of more than 3,000 historical park photos, he says.
“We are very pleased with the evolution of the event. We see 8,000-10,000 people every year over the course of the weekend. … It’s something we treasure and look forward to,” Mumau says.
Details: 814-445-7725 or laurelhillbluegrass.com
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .