Happy Heron

SHERMAN – The Great Blue Heron Music Festival was in full swing Saturday.

The 23rd annual festival began on Friday and will continue until dusk today.

Joe McMahon, headquarters crew chief, who has been involved with the festival for nearly 20 years, said that the forecast was boosting attendance.

“The parking lots seemed pretty full,” McMahon said. “(The forecast of) three sunny days will bring a lot of people who might have been on the fence about coming.”

For the last 15 years, McMahon has rode his bicycle from his home in Ithaca to the festival – a journey that takes him a few days. Since he grew up in Westfield, participating in the festival gives him the chance to see many of his old friends and acquaintances.

Julie Rockcastle, festival logistical director, said the turnout has been “fabulous.”

“It feels like a really good, happy crowd,” Rockcastle said.

This year, the festival includes a solar-powered cellphone charging station for attendees to use, new workshops, including a location for “healing arts,”

a drum circle led by Spun Out Fire Productions and more.

“There’s so much to do here,” Rockcastle said. “We have three stages – there’s music almost around the clock.”

According to Rockcastle, in the festival’s inaugural year, 800 people attended. Now, the festival requires 800 volunteers.

Spanned across more than 400 acres at 2361 Waits Corners Road in Sherman, the festival features a variety of musical performances, campsites, a spring-fed pond for swimming and miles of forested trails. The festival also includes instrument workshops, square dancing and zydeco dancing lessons, activities for children and teens and vendors offering clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, fresh-cooked food and unique gifts.

For more information, visit www.greatblueheron.com.