By Evan Bevins
The Marietta Times
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Reno resident Scotty Vickers, 3, left, dances to the music during Friday’s Red, White and Blues Festival in the parking lot of the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta as his mother, Crystal, watches.
Scorching temperatures didn't stop a number of area music fans from turning out Friday evening for the 18th annual Red, White and Blues Festival.
"I left the house, it was 97 (degrees). In the shade," said emcee and Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society member "Cobbler" John Bolen as he kicked off the evening. "You call that hot? Naw, that ain't hot.
"The first festival we had, it was 103 in the shade. And we started at 2 (p.m.)," he said.
Lima residents Mike and Cheryl Chiles were vacationing at Salt Fork State Park near Cambridge and decided to head down to Marietta, which they've visited for past blues events, for the evening.
The heat will "make you think about it, but it wasn't the deciding factor," said Mike Chiles, 55.
The music was what did it for Lowell residents LeRoy McCarty and Kat Hawbaker.
"We've heard all these before, and we like them," said McCarty, 67.
The lineup of Gary Applegate, the Tee Dee Young Band and Magic Mama headlined this year's festival, which is the largest fundraising event of the year for ReStore Marietta, an organization dedicated to boosting the economy and quality of life in the Pioneer City.
ReStore Marietta executive director Mallory Greenham said proceeds from the event support the organization's efforts to beautify downtown, with hanging flower baskets, Christmas decorations and more. In addition, the money supports ReStore's other efforts including marketing, events and support for members.
"There's all kinds of things going on," Greenham said. "Different people view ReStore Marietta in different ways, but it's definitely not a one-dimensional thing."
Despite the heat and problems in the area in the wake of a powerful storm that left thousands without power, Greenham said the group never considered postponing or canceling the concert. In fact, ReStore member Karen Briley said she saw it as an opportunity to have some fun after a difficult week.
"I don't know about everybody else, but I was hauling brush and cutting trees" all week, she said.
Since some of Friday's performers came from areas that weren't hit as hard by the storm, they had no problem making the concert, Greenham said.
Applegate, an Indiana resident who sang and played the guitar, harmonica, a bass line and foot percussion, said the heat would provide some challenges for him.
"It messes up the instruments. They go out of tune real fast," he said.
But he had no complaints about performing in Marietta for the fourth time.
"You've got blues lovers in this town like I've never seen," he said. "I love Marietta."
Applegate and the Tee Dee Young Band are the representatives of the local River City Blues Competition for the upcoming International Blues Challenge in January.