• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

11th Heartwood Music Festival set for Saturday

Families are being invited to spend their Saturday at the 11th annual Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival at the Millville Community Center near Glenn's Creek in Woodford County. The annual Heartwood Festival has grown in popularity over the last decade because there are so many opportunities for young and old alike to explore the environment around them, while always having fun. A stream ecology workshop can't be anything but fun for kids, according to festival co-founder Chris Schimmoeller, because she said kids get to learn about what critters in Glenn's Creek can tell them about the health of water. An obstacle course set up by a group of high school students will get younger kids running and jumping, and also learning about how they can take better care of the Earth. "The festival is special," said Schimmoeller, "because of the people who come to it, and the spirit they bring to it." People often tell her how much they enjoy leaving their normal lives to be surrounded by the natural beauty of Millville. "It is such a special location," Schimmoeller said. Entertainment by two "really talented bands," and a youth music contest, which gives kids an opportunity to share their musical talents with an audience that "goes wild," anchor each year's festival, said Schimmoeller. "Each kid is a champion in our crowd's eyes, and everybody feels special. And I just love that." She said a children's street theater performance offers another opportunity for kids to be bold while onstage. Their experience ends with a parade to an awards ceremony, where kids are quizzed on their environment before winning raffle prizes. "It makes people be aware that this is important, but in a fun context," said Schimmoeller, whose two daughters - 12-year-old Natalie and 9-year-old Sophie - have grown up with the festival. "It's truly a homegrown affair," she added, "and I think that's part of (the reason for) its success." Schimmoeller also described the Heartwood Festival as being an opportunity for people to share their good works with others in the area. Millville resident and festival co-founder Jane Marie Watts will talk about the hemp economy and her family's efforts to grow the crop on their farm. Also, representatives of a nearby distillery - Castle & Key - will share their future plans with the community. The Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 (rain or shine), and continues to 10 p.m. Admission is $7, with children 12 and under free. The festival benefits Kentucky Heartwood, a nonprofit organization focused on protecting and restoring the integrity, stability and beauty of Kentucky's forests. For more information about Kentucky Heartwood and the festival, visit www.kyheartwood.org/music-festival.

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