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Editorial: Local festivals give county unique flavor

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In just six years, Greenwood’s WAMMfest has grown from a small gathering of artists and vendors to a major cultural event.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today in Craig Park, just off Meridian Street and Smith Valley Road. The letters in the name stand for wine, art, music and microbrews. Included will be nine wineries from as far away as Vermillion and Ripley counties, eight brewers, a record 78 fine artists and six performing artists.

When WAMMfest was founded, the idea of building a community event around beer and wine seemed challenging. Regulations had to be passed to let alcohol in a city park. Organizers hoped that the inclusion of alcohol wouldn’t scare people away and that the festival would offer enough in the form of visual arts, performers and music.

The formula worked, and the festival has grown every year, with more artists, more beers and wines and more attendance.

As David Wolf, chairman of the arts committee, put it: “We have a little something for everyone.”

The event attracts people who attend similar events in other central Indiana locations plus many from the southside who only come to Greenwood’s festival. Wolf said, “Word is out that it’s a good festival, and there’s always a good turnout, and I think artists want to be a part of it.”

With painters, sculptors, jewelers and other artisans offering creative goods, vintners and brewers offering samples and selling their product, and musicians offering a variety of entertainment, there’s a lot to enjoy.

To top it off, the event is designed to raise money for charitable and public service efforts.

Franklin will stage its Beer and Bluegrass Festival from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday on the courthouse square. The event combines old-time music by Drymill Road with samplings from nine area craft beer brewers.

Festivals like the ones in Greenwood and Franklin add spice to community life. They also reflect the pitch-in spirit so prevalent throughout the county. We celebrate these festivals and others throughout the year. They are part of what makes Johnson County special.

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