Written by Don Ratzlaff Wednesday, 21 May 2008 07:25
The Hillsboro populous may or may not notice that the venerable Folk Festival will not be part of this year’s Memorial Day weekend calendar. That some folks may not notice its absence speaks to the reason for its demise.
The Folk Festival began as Adobe House Days, a celebration of the clay-brick house of that name and the heritage of the pioneer Mennonites who settled here. With time, though, interest in the event waned. Local leaders sought to rebuild it by piggybacking an assortment of “non-ethnic” activities to refresh the event and draw in more people. The name of the event was changed to the Family Folk Festival, or something to that effect.
Ultimately, heroic efforts to attract a following simply were not equal to the challenge. For all the hard work and dutiful service, the primary element lacking was creativity. All of us who were a part of the Folk Festival through years could never figure out a way to showcase “heritage” in a way that captured the interest of a new generation or entertainment-savvy constituents.
The end of the Folk Festival is a loss to the community, but also to our lack of imagination. —DR