Celebrate the small things. That’s the theme of Country Fest — the sixth annual two-day festival involving all things country.
Organizers say the event brings to focus popular themes of country music such as love, heartbreak, cruising, small towns and life’s struggles.
“There are so many variations of country music, from bluegrass to country rock, and it all focuses on the simple things in life which everyone can relate to,” says Bill Quinones, the event’s owner and producer. “We believe Long Islanders have always loved country music, we are just giving them a place to come together to enjoy it.”
Country Fest typically attracts a few thousand people and grows in reach each year.
Here are five things to look forward to at this year’s event:
1. MUSIC The lineup of performers includes a number of local acts such as SixGun, Roadhouse Band, County Line, The Grand Central, Whiskey Road, Yankee Rebel, Stagecoach and Mary Lamont.
2. LINE DANCING An array of dances and styles will be on display, says Frank Spano, manager of L.I. Classic Country Entertainment. If you’re concerned you haven’t got the right moves, don’t worry. Spano and his team of instructors will offer free lessons targeted at beginners.
Last year, he says, those who sought instruction ranged in age from toddlers to seniors.
“If you can stand and move your feet, you can take part,” he says. “You’ll be surprised at how many people can do it despite their original fears.”
The dance floor, he adds, is a judgment-free zone.
“Everyone is just out having a good time,” says Spano, 34, of Islip. “Plus, when we get a field full of people dancing together, smiling and laughing, it’s a beautiful thing.”
3. RIDES Regardless of your preferred means of transport, Country Fest will provide access to rides of varying sizes, from sitting in the open rear bed of a monster truck to taking a spin on a mechanical bull, to going on a hayride and other carnival amusements.
4. CARNIVAL GAMES Each year, Country Fest organizers look to expand the lineup to entertain people of all ages, Quinones says. This year’s attractions include a kids corral, human hamster ball races, face painting, carnival games and local crafters and artisans.
5. FOOD You’re bound to work up an appetite at Country Fest, and there’ll be vendors on hand from which you can get your fill of homemade barbecue brisket and pulled pork, as well as typical carnival fair such as burgers, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos and funnel cakes. Satisfy a sweet tooth with Italian ices and ice cream. Beer and other adult beverages will also be sold.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, July 30-31, 3186 Sound Ave., Riverhead
ADMISSION $14 (free younger than 11), $20 two-day pass