Today the place is quiet, just a small grassy park in the middle of a small village. But last Saturday Hohlt Park was alive with the annual Rocky Ripple Festival.
This event is arguably one of the most enjoyable art shows of the year. Dozens of artists display their wares, everything from jewelry to pottery, oil paintings to chocolate, the sublime to the silly.
Musicians belt out old and new tunes throughout the day, the sand-filled volleyball court is converted to a giant sandbox for the kids, food is varied and abundant, and the line never ends at the beer tent.
Artists roll in to this small island community before daylight to set up their tents. Volunteers deliver free coffee and bagels. As the sun comes up everyone breathes a sigh of relief. It’s not going to rain. Somewhere a carillon sounds the hour.
At 11 o’clock an honor guard marches in bearing the flag, and a musical group sings our National Anthem in a style reminiscent of the Cactus Cuties, four little girls who stunned basketball audiences in Texas a few years ago.
The crowds arrive early and stay late. Many families come to spend the day. Folks bring their dogs. Old friends meet and chat. Kids romp in the sand. A few lose their shoes. Off in one corner kids and adults alike try to keep hula hoops twirling.
All the money from the festival goes into a fund to take care of this park. Few parks in the area are as well equipped or as community oriented as this one.
There’s a garden where residents grow vegetables and flowers. Someone built and installed bat houses. As a result, there are no mosquitoes.
At 6 o’clock folks head home. The musicians and artists pack up and drive away. Then the park is quiet again, until next year’s festival.