A large crowd gathered in Salina’s Oakdale Park Thursday night to be a part of the official opening event of the 2014 Smoky Hill River Festival. The Festival Jam officially started the annual party in the park, in front of nearly 11,000 people.
Steve Hansen organized the first Jam 28 years ago, and is still going strong. He told KSAL News that though the event has evolved over the years, the one constant has been the variety, and quality of the music. “The beauty part is that there is something for everyone’s musical taste” he said.
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 beautiful evening, with mild temperatures and light wind. Salina Arts and Humanities Executive Director told KSAL News that he was pleased with the large crowd. “The weather couldn’t have been better” he said.
Along with the music, some also enjoyed the food. Though not all of the food booths were open, those located in the area of the Eric Stein stage were. Fans munched on things like funnel cakes, corn dogs, corn-on-the-cob on a stick, Indian Tacos, “Grater Taters” and much more.
According to Salina Arts and Humanities, 10,774 people passed through the gates Thursday night. The crowd was a little larger than last year, when 10,773 attend the Festival Jam. It is the second highest attendance in the last five years.