By ROBIN HART
11:37 AM EDT, June 13, 2011
The 2011 Great American Brass Band Festival has marched through Danville, and once again organizers are pleased with the event. Niki Kinkade, director of the brass band festival, said, “It was a perfect festival, and we’re looking forward to it next year.”
The crowd was better than it has been in the last several years, according to Kinkade, giving some credit to “fantastic” weather. Even the short rain shower Saturday afternoon helped to cool things off and didn’t dampen the event. “It was a neat thing to have happened,” Kinkade said.
She said the fun part was meeting people from all over the state, country and even the world. When driving folks from here to there in golf carts, Kinkade said people always remarked about the uniqueness of the festival and the “small town feel,” it has.
Kinkade described a 97-year-old man who has attended the festival for several years. This year, he was enjoying the music and atmosphere with his daughter and her son. And even though he has heard the music at the festival year after year, he still loves it.
The backbone of making the festival strong is the immense support and experience of the volunteers and sponsors, Kinkade said. Volunteers such as Larry Vaught and Jim Rankin make the whole weekend go smoothly, she said.
The audience and band members alike seemed to be very impressed with 12-year-old trumpet prodigy, Natalie Dungey. Kinkade said many people were very glad that they had the opportunity to hear her perform in person.
Jerry Boyd, a volunteer who helps with logistics of the event, said after talking to several festival organizers, they all feel this was one of the better festivals they’ve had in years. He thinks this year’s festival is even one of the top five.
Last year’s numbers were down, Boyd said, probably due to the heat. This year, however, they were impressed with the crowd.
The only glitch during the festival, according to Boyd, was when the Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon that performed Saturday failed to get a flight out of Lexington that evening. Apparently the airplane destined to fly from Washington D.C. to Lexington for the Marines had mechanical trouble and eventually had to be cancelled.
Boyd said the festival logicstics crew returned to Lexington to pick up the Marines, “greased the wheels, got them fed,” and made arrangements for them to spend the night in dorm rooms on Centre College campus. They were supposed to return to Lexington to catch another flight today.
Even the food and drink vendors seemed to be happy with the crowds, according to Jim Page. He said the 14 vendors agreed Saturday was a great day, but Sunday was a little slow. Alcohol wasn’t sold at this year’s festival, and several vendors reported many people asking for beer.
After being postponed due to weather Friday night, The Great American Balloon race lifted off from Stuart Powell Field on Sunday evening.
Even though some balloonists had a bit of a struggle taking off with a breeze over the ground, once up it was smooth sailing. Winners of the race were: First place, Chris Spalding; second-place, Jady Wade; third-place, Tom Brutscher; fourth-place Patrick Dailey; fifth-place Peyton Hoge. All winners were from Louisville.
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