Although it provided many of the great things I enjoy about attending music festivals, this year's Great Blue Heron was anything but usual.
My adventure began with a drive to Olean on Independence Day to visit my grandparents and pick up my brother because he joins me every year at the Heron. Little did I know that when I sat down with my grandmother to ask her if she had a ring I could present to my then girlfriend as a marriage proposal that I would leave the Heron with a fiancee.
It wasn't my intention to propose at the Heron, but it happened, and it was beautiful. On Saturday, July 6, Allysa Dupont and I sat among a bed of daisies, not too far from a small body of water, relaxing in the midday sun. Allysa began picking daisies to fashion a wreath that she would wear through the remainder of the festival. The sound of music echoed in the distance, a faint reminder that although we had found a moment's respite surrounded by nature, the maddening shroud loomed nearby. The moment was suddenly interrupted by a splash, which turned out to be a happy surprise. We noticed a fawn taking a dip in the cool water as a doe stood with a vigilant eye nearby. We turned back to look at each other and knew that we were part of something far greater than us, but also that together we were an aspect of the whole. At that moment, I took her hand and presented her with a ring as a symbol of my intention to spend the rest of my life with her. She said yes.
So, altogether this year's Heron turned out better than ever before.
As per usual, here are the highlights and happenings going on in the area.
Live At The Met Summer Encore Series To Present "Armida" At Fredonia Opera House: The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will screen Gioachino Rossini's "Armida" as part of its Live at the Met Summer Encore Series of operas tonight at 7 p.m.
JSBA Big City Summer Concert Series Continues Friday: 3 Dead Frets will appear during JSBA's Big City Summer Concert Series on Friday.
The summer concert series takes place from 7-9 p.m. between Lafayette Street and the patio behind the JSBA. In case of inclement weather, the performance will take place inside the arena at Sully's Irish Pub. The Big City Concerts are free to the public. Food and beverage vendors will also be on-site.
3 Dead Frets is an acoustic rock trio comprised of brothers Tim and Ted Jones, along with their good friend Dave Kilian. Together they offer unique edge and originality to well-known songs. They cover a wide variety of genres, including artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Faces, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Bush, The Stones and The Grateful Dead. They will also be giving guests a taste of their own original music.
Following each outdoor concert, the party will shift to Sully's Irish Pub for more live music. Located on the track inside JSBA, Sully's will feature a closing act that will play until around 10:30 p.m.
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Jamestown Savings Bank Arena is located at 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information call 484-2624, visit jamestownarena.com or the JSBA Facebook and Twitter pages.
"The Great Gatsby" To Be Screened At Fredonia Opera House: "The Great Gatsby," Baz Luhrmann's lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, is the next featured film in the Fredonia Opera House Cinema Series. It will be screened on Saturday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
National Country Music Artist To Headline MidSummer Music Fest: The Lake Erie Speedway will host Chris Cagle during the MidSummer Music Fest Sunday.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. the day of the show, and the musical entertainment will begin at 5:15 p.m. with talent from the local music scene. The Lake Erie Speedway MidSummer Music Fest is a community event with free general admission and standing room tickets available beginning June 3 at Gary Monahans Truckin 4WD and at the gate the day of the show while supplies last. Special, limited seating is also available for the concert.
The Lake Erie Speedway is located at 10700 Delmas Drive in North East, Pa. For more information, call 814-725-3303 or visit www.lakeeriespeedway.com.
Mel Perks Memorial Run Set For Sunday: Hospice Chautauqua County will host the Mel Perks Memorial Run at The Pad on Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Registration is set for 10-11 a.m. The event will feature giveaways and a live performance by Sean Patrick McGraw from 2-5 p.m.
The Pad is located at 1064 New York 394 in Kennedy. For more information search for "Hospice Chautauqua County" on Facebook.
Lakewood Library Art Exhibit To Be Held Through July: An art exhibit entitled "Ukrainian Pesanky and Family," by Cynthia A. Gedz, will be on display at the Lakewood Library through July. Ukrainian Pesanky are decorated Easter Eggs, and one egg is an ostrich egg.
The library is located at 12 W. Summit St. in Lakewood. Its hours of operation are: Monday and Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Willow Creek Winery To Present Stompin the Grapes Country Jamboree: The event will start with a Homegrown Music Friday featuring Amanda Nagurney and Only Up from Here. Then the winery will host Marty Stuart on Saturday and Mark Wills on Sunday.
Saturday and Sunday evening will also include music from local Nashville recording artist, Everett Lee and Underground Stampede. Saturday includes music from Country Memories, The Twang Gang, Matt Texter and Underground Stampede. Sunday will feature Only Up from Here and Underground Stampede.
Tickets are $25 for Saturday, $15 for Sunday and can be purchased at the Willow Creek Box Office or Brownpapertickets.com. Camping packages are available for $10 a person. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Willow Creek Winery is located at 2627 Chapin Road in Silver Creek. For more information visit www.willowcreekwines.net, or search for "Willow Creek Winery" on Facebook.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email email@example.com or call 487-1111 ext. 253 by Monday.
Red Letter Blues: 7-8:30 p.m., Richard O. Hartley Park, Terrace and Chautauqua avenues in Lakewood.
Blue Grass Jam: 7-10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Falconer Summer Concert Series With Razz and Friends: 7 p.m., Davis Park in Falconer.
Bill Ward And Amanda Barton: 6 p.m., Wine Cellar, 309 N. Main St. in Jamestown.
Ben Blood And Charlie Backus Duo: 8-11 p.m., Bellini Lounge, 215 W. Lake Road (Route 394) in Mayville.
Oliver Burdo: 9-10:30 p.m., Sully's Pub at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown.
Ric And Brian Butler: 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Webb's Captain's Table, 115 W. Lake Road in Mayville.
Brian Chase: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tap Room, 43 E. Main St. in Westfield.
Doc and Bill: 2:30-4:30 p.m., St. James Festival in Jamestown.
Davis And Eng: 6-8 p.m., The Corner Coffeehouse, 54 W. Main St. in Frewsburg.
Busti Gazebo Concert Series Featuring Blue Mule Band: 7 p.m, Busti Gazebo in Busti.
Latin Night Featuring Cariduro Music, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata Y Reggaeton: 7 p.m., Rock'n Ricks, Route 219 in Limestone.
DJs Unlimited: 8 p.m. to midnight, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
The Bogarts: 8 p.m. to midnight, The Boardwalk in Mayville.
Grand Larseny: 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Peek 'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Brian Hanna Trio: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Bemus Point Casino, 1 Lakeside Dr. in Bemus Point.
Bill Ward And Amanda Barton: 6-9 p.m., Hadley House, 3328 Hadley Bay Road in Stow.
Kris Meekins: 6-9 p.m., Chautauqua Suites' Bellini Courtyard, 215 W. Lake Road (Route 394) in Mayville.
Jamestown Municipal Band: 7 p.m., Allen Park Goranson Bandshell in Jamestown.
Live At The Gazebo With The Sam Hyman Band: 7 p.m., Findley Lake Gazebo in Findley Lake.