Finding Fame at Grey Fox
by Katie Robb
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is unlike any event I’ve ever been to before. First off, there are easily over 4,000 campers there to enjoy bluegrass 24/7. However, what’s impressive is not the sheer number of campers, but their style of camping. These people are some of the most serious campers I’ve ever seen. Some may simply pop up a tent and call it good enough, but others set up what can only be considered a compound; networks of tents and giant canopies, kitchens, showers, carpets, lounge chairs, and the occasional flagpole. But what really blew me away was how many of the visitors to our booth already knew about the Emerald Ash Borer or the Asian Longhorned Beetle.
I had to completely switch up how I talked to people at our booth at Grey Fox. Instead of giving an overview, I dove right into the nitty gritty. Learning how to identify the insects and their indicators was a common request this weekend. For many, the chance to see our Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle specimens was their first time seeing the real thing; even for people who live in areas where these insects are present. On top of that, there were a lot of eager individuals who asked to take home a stack of our pamphlets so that they could educate their friends and family. Often times I found myself getting sidetracked talking to people about other invasive species that they were interested in or had experience with. When we dressed up in costume, there were so many people who flocked to us wanting to take pictures with the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer. I figured this must be what it feels like to be famous.
Grey Fox was easily one of my favorite festivals of the summer so far, and I can’t wait to go back next year. If you’re into bluegrass, I recommend you go sometime. I’d also like to add, if you’re into anything that relies on the presence of a healthy forest (i.e. clean air, firewood, natural beauty, outdoor activities, anything built from wood, etc.), I recommend that you stop by our booth or check out our website to learn more about what you can do to protect our trees.