Pickin' Party still going strong after 25 years
It’s been a quarter of a century since a small group of bluegrass and old-time country music aficionados from the Holton area and around northeastern Kansas first got together for a couple of days at Prairie Lake northeast of Holton to play a little music.
Twenty-five years later, campers are snagging spots at the Prairie Lake grounds, sometimes as early as the first of June, for the annual Prairie Lake Pickin’ Party, the annual flagship event of the Kansas Prairie Pickers Association that brings three evenings of bluegrass and old-time country to the stage at the lake.
This year’s festival — the 25th annual event — will be held Thursday through Saturday at the lake, and Ron Meier, who’s been with the festival since its early days and serves as a master of ceremonies as well as a performing musician, said that back then, he didn’t think the festival would have the staying power it’s had through the years.
“Years and years ago, we said we just wanted to make 25. Well, now that we’ve made 25, what are we going to do?” Meier said. “We figure we’ll just keep going until we fall down.”
Over the three nights of the festival, 15 groups will take over the stage, many of which are mainstays of the festival. That includes Meier’s group, the Ready Brothers, as well as Pastense, Legacy, the Boiler Room Boys and the Bonjour Brothers, who are returning to the festival after a year off.