Blues Fest is worth celebrating

Published 2:00 am Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blues fever is spreading like a musical epidemic throughout Bogalusa and the region.

The second annual Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival is Saturday, and thousands of music fans are expected to gather at Cassidy Park, bringing with them tourism dollars and an infusion of tax revenue to the city and Washington Parish. A year ago as an inaugural event the festival was plagued by torrential rain, but even flooded grounds could do little to dampen the enthusiasm of those who braved the wet weather conditions.

Now, with better weather predicted, a year of word-of-mouth endorsements and an aggressive marketing campaign buoyed by a $10,000 state grant, the festival is poised to be grander and more successful in its sophomore voyage. A new second stage will augment the tremendous cache of musical talent.

The Heritage Trail remains a popular attraction, and two new inductees will be added. Expansion of the children’s section that includes harmonica demonstrations and lessons helps make the festival truly a family event.

Food will be available and a variety of music will keep attendees on their dancing toes, but the festival is about much more than bands performing under a late September sun. Rather, this is an opportunity for Bogalusa and Washington Parish to spruce up the place a little, dust off the furniture, clean the windows and open the civic doors to this beautiful area we call home.

This is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on visitors who will travel from as far away as Texas and Florida and who will hopefully want to return every year.

This is a weekend to be not residents, but ambassadors of Washington Parish, eager to greet visitors with a genuine smile, kind words and a story to tell.

The festival is the brainchild of Malinda White and a dedicated group of residents. An army of volunteers continue to put in countless hours to ensure its success. Small businesses will reap the fruits of their dedication with registers singing, and the city and parish will benefit through sales tax revenue.

That’s a festival worth celebrating.