CENTRE HALL — Recreational vehicles from as far away as Ontario and Quebec were lined up at the Grange fairgrounds on Tuesday, waiting to get through the gates for the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival, which starts Thursday.
The seventh annual festival is a four-day music celebration that includes live performances from more than 20 musicians and bands, and interactive workshops for guests.
Remington Ryde band member and festival organizer Ryan Frankhouser said the event outgrew its original venue at the Reedsville Youth Park in Mifflin County. So organizers teamed up with Grange Fairgrounds management to hold the event in Centre Hall — something both groups believe will be a long-term relationship.
“It grows every year,” Frankhouser said. “We’ll bring it back to the Grange fairgrounds next year. I think they even might bring in rides next year for kids. Just a little something in the works to expand the family-friendly event we try to promote.”
“I think it’s a great fit,” Grange fairgrounds General Manager Darlene Confer said. “I think they’re really excited that the festival is growing, and we’re glad we could be of service to them.”
Confer said there’s already between 400 and 500 RVs registered for camping on the grounds.
Frankhouser said he expects upward of 5,000 people will attend the festival, coming to the region from as far west as Montana and all along the Eastern Seaboard from eastern Canada to Florida.
Even with this week’s Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in downtown State College, People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg and Heritage Days in Philipsburg, Confer and Frankhouser said the selection of events won’t put a damper on the number of people who attend the bluegrass shows.
“If anything, I think it will bring more people,” Frankhouser said. “If they get bored with one festival, they have others to choose from. I think all the festivals bounce off each other.”
Frankhouser said the planning process lasts all year, and said he hands out more than 25,000 fliers to promote the event. Frankhouser said “word of mouth” is the biggest advertisement.
“This is for anyone who likes music or just wants to enjoy a nice day out, doing something a little different and celebrating bluegrass,” Frankhouser said.
Live entertainment includes 14 major national touring acts including Grammy Award-winning musicians such as Rhonda Vincent. Others include Nothin’ Fancy, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Little Roy & Lizzy Show, Ralph Stanley II, Goldwing Express and James King Band.
Frankhouser said musicians will hold casual open jam sessions around the grounds.
“It’s a really stellar atmosphere, all about music and a lot of jamming with a lot of different musicians,” Frankhouser said.
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.