A large crowd enjoyed a picture-perfect evening in Salina’s Oakdale Park Thursday to be a part of the official opening event of the 2017 Smoky Hill River Festival. The Festival Jam officially started the annual party in the park.
The Jam wasn’t scheduled to start until 6:00. But there were fans waiting when the gates opened at 4:00. Within a matter of minutes, many people already claiming their favorite spots. The crowd enjoyed a mild, breezy evening.
This year’s Festival Jam could possibly be the last one for organizer Steve Hanson. The Salina musician and music store owner organized the first Jam, 32 years ago. He told KSAL News that though the event never gets old, there will come a time when he needs to step down. Will this year will be the last one for Hanson? He told KSAL News that he would make that decision after the festival wraps up.
Along with the music, many also enjoyed the food. As the jam started, all of the food booths opened. Fans munched on things like funnel cakes, corn dogs, corn-on-the-cob on a stick, Indian Tacos, “Grater Taters” and much more.
The Jam kicked off a full weekend of art and entertainment in the park. Entertainment highlights include:
- Friday night – Bobby Layne and His Orchestra – Celebrating 59 years of Big Band and swing entertainment, Bobby and his musical ensemble continues to delight audiences and dancers from coast to coast. Their repertoire of favorites from the 1930’s, ’40s, and ’50s, including “In The Mood”,”Stardust” and more, awaits those who come to swing, sway, and dance with the Orchestra in the air-conditioned comfort of the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. Admission by Festival Button only.
- Friday night- Jakubi –Back by popular demand, Jakubi’s unique flavor comes from an irresistible combination of guitars, hip-hop beats and sailing synth rhythms. Flawlessly melding the sounds of a talk box one minute and reggae-inspired guitar the next, the band’s infectious, experimental songs are guaranteed to get everyone dancing. Eric Stein Stage 8:30.
- Saturday night-The Delta Saints – Steeped in rock n rolls building blocks country, R&B, soul and gospel The Delta Saints explore influences like Jack White, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses and Led Zeppelin. With a hard-hitting live show, this group will get you on your feet. Eric Stein Stage 8:30.
- Sunday final act – The Brady Weston Band–The Brady Weston Band is pushing the envelope for country music and rock n roll. They have a unique blend of genres including delta blues, classic county and energetic rock that has had regional audience singing their praises. This group will provide powerful guitar licks and honest, heart-warming lyrics in a performance that will leave you in awe- a great way to close the Festival. Eric Stein Stage 4:00.