With all the festivals I attend I've experienced both the good and bad. The good side is that with all the walking my calf muscles are getting as strong as the Fedex delivery man. The bad news is that my caloric consumption has increased my waistline in direct proportion to the toning of my leg muscles.
After nearly 10 years of performing I finally played a stage in my birthplace. I arrived at the Boo on Bell festival in Shawnee at about 11am and was welcomed by Julie Cody of Safe Events for Families (SEFF). SEFF is a non-profit that and has been around since 1998. Julie's husband John was running the stage and had a top notch setup. I was excited to see that the stage was just yards away from the historic and legendary Aldridge Hotel where my great-grandad sang with a barber shop quartet on the ground floor. Now, there I was a century later carrying on his musical legacy.
I was scheduled to perform at noon and as I was setting up my gear I got to watch snips of the pet costume contest going on in front of the Hornbeck Theater. There were dogs dressed as cats, cats dressed as goats and goats dressed as… just kidding no one brought any goats.
I started my set with some originals including a new one I wrote called “White Lines”. Since I try to suit my songs for whatever audience is at the event or venue I am performing at, I laced in some kid songs, classic country tunes, blues, classical guitar and bluegrass.
For the grand finale I brought out my never-failing, not-so-secret weapon- my three year old daughter. She introduced herself and sang ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ while dancing around in her own blue suede shoes. She then told two jokes before accompanying me for the last song with improvised ballet and bongos. She showed no sign of stage fright and only displayed the professional stage mannerisms of a tenured performer. Needless to say, she drew a bigger crowd than me. Proud of my little performer!
After my set, I caught up with some old Shawnee friends and family and then grabbed some food truck grub. We had fried cajun catfish, caramel kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade. We did some trick or treating and scoped out all of the festivities Boo on Bell had to offer. They had the new and old Ghostbusters movies playing, a full carnival, candy everywhere, food trucks, dance parties and all kinds of little kids dressed up as the cutest and most curious little creatures that have ever walked Bell Street.
Boo on Bell was a blast and the SEFF crew were some of the finest individuals I have met from my home town of Shawnee! If you haven't visited downtown Shawnee yet I strongly encourage you to do so-SEFF has some great things in store. Downtown Shawnee is shaping up to be one of the most fun, relaxing and family oriented places to hang out in Oklahoma. Go and get involved there!
To find out more about Safe Events For Families in Shawnee go to SEFFShawnee.org