Makanda celebrates spring

By Gus Bode

The population of Makanda will exponentially swell this weekend for Makanda Spring Fest.

The expected crowd size for the event is roughly 3,000, said Dave Dardis, a Makanda shop owner.

This year marks the 20th annual Makanda Spring Fest. The year’s event runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Entertainment, vendors and craftsmen will be centered around the Makanda boardwalk.

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The festival hasn’t changed much since it began in 1988, said Courtney McMurphy, an employee of the Makanda Trading Company.

McMurphy, now 20, has been attending Spring Fest since she was 6 years old. Though the crowd size has fluctuated throughout the years she said, the festival has maintained the same basic format, which incorporates live music, craftsmen and vendors, bringing artists together in downtown Makanda.

“It’s a relaxed, laid-back, good time,” McMurphy said.

Makanda Spring Fest in the fall is very similar to Vulture Fest in terms of the activities of the festival, said Dardis, owner of RainMaker Art in Makanda.

Dardis said the music for this year’s festival is of a folksier, hillbilly-ish genre. He said one of the unique aspects of the festival in Makanda is the freedom for impromptu music. He said people sometimes begin playing their instruments in the street while they’re walking around.

This year’s festival features two different stages for musical acts: one stage is in the pavilion across from the boardwalk and the other venue is in the sculpture garden behind Dardis’ shop.

The music is predominantly local and those in attendance have multiple opportunities to hear several bands because of the two-stage set-up, said Bob Iltis, who coordinates the music in the garden.

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Iltis said what makes both Spring Fest and Vulture Fest so unique is the location.

“The whole sort of hippie halo that surrounds Makanda is pervasive in the whole place. It’s a really relaxed environment,” Iltis said.

Audra Ord can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or at [email protected]

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