Norwalk Music Festival Independence Day bluegrass parade

The 7th Norwalk Music Festival is in full swing. Promoters Kurt and Betty Jo Hickman have set up this festival as a 501(c)(3) to benefit Alzheimer’s research. The festival is held at the Huron County Fairgrounds in Norwalk, Ohio over the 4th of July weekend.

Campers began arriving early in the week and GBS Sound was hard at work preparing the stage.

Thursday (Independence Day) was free festival day. It kicked off with a 4 mile run/walk with hundreds of participants.

The Norwalk Independence Day parade was next on the docket. Host band, Harbourtown, once again rode their float and played the entirety of the parade route. Festival publicist, Terri Grannis, let the parade watchers know all about the festival and accompanying activities. All of the parade watchers were in high spirits in the early summer heat!

The parade ended back at the fairgrounds and the music got started. First up was Michigan based Red, White, & Bluegrass. Band leader, Sam Costelli, has assembled a group of veteran musicians who deliver great bluegrass music. The band plays many of the local festivals in Michigan and Ohio.

Ohio’s own Ottawa County Bluegrass was up next. The band is anchored by Joe Sr., Joe Jr., and Dennis Mitchell. The bass player, Vern Brink, has been “adopted” by the Mitchell family. They make top notch family harmonies. They also play many Michigan and Ohio festivals.

Kyle Jarvis and 3rd Generation is a new Ohio band of young, but seasoned musicians. They will be releasing their first project on Saturday at the festival.

Edgar Loudermilk closed out the music portion of the show. Luke Gitchel filled in for the ailing Jeff Autry. Edgar spoke with Jeff on the phone and gave the audience an update on Jeff’s recovery. Jeff is walking, talking, and beginning rehab. Edgar asked everyone to keep Jeff in their prayers.

The days activities closed out with the Norwalk fireworks show at the fairgrounds.

The remainder of the weekend promises lots of great music and activities. Friday is “Ohio bands” day with all of the bands based in Ohio.

Saturday brings Larry Efaw, Danny Paisley, Hammertowne, Tony Holt, Kyle Jarvis, and Luke Gitchel to the festival stage. The highlight will be Pickin’ on Alzheimer’s “Stump the Band” contest. It is a band scramble format where audience members have requested songs to try to stump the band. The contest raised upwards of a thousand dollars last year.

Support your local music venues.