SIOUX CITY | The gray clouds that hovered over Grandview Park for its 26th annual Saturday in the Park did not cloud the spirits of the 20,000 plus attendees who were decked out in tie-dye and red, white and blue.
Event co-founder Dave Bernstein said last year's 25th anniversary drew more than 25,000 people, and this year's number slimmed due to it being the coolest SITP ever with temps in the mid-sixties, he said. But what really heated up, was the Abe Stage, properly dubbed after the Abraham Lincoln statue next to it.
“What really has been surprising is how many people are enjoying the Abe Stage, which is our second stage. The main stage has been flawless, but the Abe Stage is definitely going to be a tool we are going to keep using,” he said.
The smaller of the two stages rocked with big names like Sir Mix-A-Lot, Supernova and Kill OG. It also gave a chance for local lights to shine such as Sioux City bands One Pimp Avengers, No. 7 Band, Alejandro and BucyBAD and Port Nocturnal, which kicked it off at noon.
“I have been here many times and I always have wanted to play here, and now that is finally happening. It is good to see I perceived my goal,” Grace Claeys said, drummer for Port Nocturnal. “Performing was very exhilarating, it’s a relationship between the stage and the crowd is very empowering.”
Bernstein declared it was a smooth day, and that it was.
Shuttles shuffled back and forth from the Tyson Events Center at five-minute intervals where people could conveniently park. There was a section where kids could pet animals and bounce around on inflatables while parents enjoyed music.
“I want to ride the Ferris wheel,” Bobby Abney, 11, said eyeing the rotating wheel perched at the highest point of the park.
Tranez Nix was one of those happy parents watching their children frolic in the fun.
“This is exciting for the kids to do. They are so energetic, I just got them the bracelets so they can go on all the rides and do their thing,” Nix, who moved to Sioux City from Mississippi, said. “My favorite part, though, it is really great the community is doing a thing like this for the whole city and the Siouxland area.”
The aroma of barbecue and funnel cakes from food vendors with flashy signs caught everyone's eyes and noses. And patrons had to snake their way through the narrow alley between the merchant vendors who were selling everything from airbrush tattoos to polished stones. Zoee Horn is from Lincoln, Nebraska, but comes to the festival to help out for the big day.
“We sell bags, clothes, jewelry, flags, you name it,” she said. “Last year was a little bigger, but this year is a little easier.”
The somewhat chilly temps came as a relief to some who wanted a break from the recent heat wave.
“The weather is wonderful,” Emily Bramlett of Onawa, Iowa, said. “It is not blistering hot like last year. I would say it is very good weather to just chill in."
Thousands of lawn chairs and blankets were clustered in front the main stage at the park's bandshell to listen to the musical acts of The Stockyard Kings, Jo-El Sonnier, Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, The Wailers, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, KONGOS and country music headliner Kacey Musgraves.
“I’m a big Kacey Musgraves fan. I know she isn’t a superstar yet but she should be,” Korey Boeckmann of Sioux City said.
“I kind of have a crush on her to be honest,” he laughed. “But don't tell my girlfriend that.”
For many, the acts were not familiar, but for everyone, the festival had a familiar feel.
“I’ve come almost every year. I live in Kansas City now and I usually come back for this,” Saranne Bergen said. “I don’t care who is playing. I just like coming.”