So Sunday at Grey Fox is a day when, for many, the festival is gradually winding down, but for many of the kids and families, it is the day they have been waiting for all weekend, and for some probably all year. There is an instrument-making workshop in the morning where little guys can jam along with the musicians in the Family Tent, but then the big, big deal is the Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids, which is funded by sponsors, donors, and even a little bit by the kids themselves.
That is not to say that there are only kid’s events going on. For instance, I saw Special Consensus rock the stage that morning with some good ole bluegrass, and they even got in on the action with the kids when the Bluegrass Academy took over the main stage later in the day.
All weekend there were kids of varying ages busking all over the festival. Pretty fun, and funny really. They not only learn elements of playing bluegrass, but also how one can try to throw out a case and make a few dollars. The kids get to then feel like they help to keep it running, and they actually did raise a good bit of money. I saw people donating both normal American dollars and Grey Fox bluegrass bucks.
Attending the Academy is free for the kids who come and has been steadily growing since it first began 15 years ago. This year there were over a 100 kids in the academy in total. They divided some into the senior kids, which did not have the matching shirts.
They also grant a plaque to one lucky Kid’s Academy student for having the best attitude and being the most excited to be there taking part. This year that Spirit Award wet to 13 year old Becket Panfil.
Folks also can donate year round to either the Bluegrass Academy for Kids or the Scholarships to music schools that are granted each year to a deserving young person by making tax deductible donations to the Grey Fox Educational Fund. They can be sent to:
Grey Fox Educational Fund
c/o Lucia Sperato
Story Malone and Associates
705 York Rd
Baltimore, MD 21204
This year there were two recipients of the coveted Grey Fox Scholarships: Laney Jones (going to Berklee College of Music) and Kaia Kater (going to Davis and Elkins College).
Here is Kaia on stage this weekend.
In sum, folks come back to Grey Fox year after year for a variety of reasons – the music, activities, and dancing are obvious – but they also come back year after year because of the nice way they are treated, the educational programs it supports, the care the organizers take in being as green as possible (recycling everywhere, etc) and the friends that they make here and the sense of community that develops. I am looking forward to next year as are so many other folks!