Perrysburg hosts annual Bluegrass festivalWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Music lovers can expect fun, family-friendly entertainment Jan. 13 and 14 at the 22nd Winterfest-Bluegrass in Super Class in Perrysburg.
The two-day festival will take place at the Holiday Inn French Quarters, 10630 Fremont Pike, and features bluegrass favorites like the Bluegrass Mountaineers, The Little Roy and Lizzy Show and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
“We make all of our festivals family-oriented and family-friendly and we try to make sure everybody is happy and give them the best entertainment we can possibly get,” said Larry Efaw of the Bluegrass Mountaineers, who has played at all 21 fests. Efaw and his wife Lisa took over promoting the show about six years ago when the festival’s co-founder, Robert White, passed away.
“You really have to work at these things to make them a success. You gotta treat your fans right, you gotta treat the people at the gates right and that’s what we do,” Efaw said.
Like the festival, Efaw’s band, the Bluegrass Mountaineers, is all about family. Larry’s father, Edward Efaw, started the band in 1962 and when Larry was 7 he joined the Bluegrass Mountaineers onstage as a mandolin player. The tradition continued when Larry’s son Stanley began playing the mandolin at 7 years old.
“When he started the mandolin, I went to the guitar. You can have a couple guitar players, but you can’t have more than one mandolin player,” Larry said and laughed. Edward, now in his 80s, plays with the band when he is able and Larry’s grandsons also come onstage. In addition, Larry’s son-in-law, Stacy Wilcox, plays with the group.
Band members Joe Rose (who will not attend the festival), Chris Smith and Billy Borton aren’t blood-related, but might as well be. “If they’re not family, they’re almost like family they’ve been with us so long,” Larry said.
Smith, who sings and plays the banjo, joined the band at 13. “We gave him his first job. His dad would have to bring him to the shows because he couldn’t drive,” Larry said.
The band, which spends the summer on the road, has played at venues like the Chicago Folk Festival and Ralph Stanley’s Bluegrass Festival.
“We just have a good time and go down the road, I’m usually the one driving and they’re just sitting back there having a good time and playing their instruments,” Larry said.
The festival, which also features a jamming room where attendees can play their own instruments together, typically draws between 700-800 people during its two-day span. Friday’s acts include The Little Roy and Lizzy Show, The Bluegrass Brothers, David Parmley, Larry Gillis, Ernie Evans and Deep Water Bluegrass. Saturday will feature Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, The Larkins, Bluegrass Mountaineers, The Dean Osborne Band, Idletymes and Remington Ryde.
Tickets are $25 for general admission and $30 for reserved seating per day. The show starts at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 13 and at noon Jan. 14. Visit www.bluegrassmountaineers.net for the complete schedule and to purchase reserved seats.