The Billy Rigsby Band performs at the Battery Park Stage, sponsored by Shirley Southern. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Porch Fest fills the streets

It opened with the feel-good sound of the local ukulele band The Ukulillies, and it ended with the auctioning off of Dave Daley’s poster for the fourth annual Porch Fest, signed by each of the two dozen musical groups that played the three main stages and the 13 porches scattered throughout the neighborhoods of Apalachicola.

Dirty Bird and the Flu were the closing act on the Battery Park stage. At far left in the back is Jenny Odom, one of the founders of Porch Fest in 2020, who came down from Georgia to check out the event. [ Jim Smith | Contributed ]

And in between, the Saturday event drew at least a thousand people, if not more, to the city, transported to the many locations by bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, automobiles or their own two feet to take in a sunny afternoon of soulful sound making.
Moe and Evette Parker, from the Krewe of St. Andrews in Panama City, made it a weekend, riding around town in a recumbent tandem bicycle. They decided to stay in Apalachicola, avoiding having to cross the bridge, and just relax and enjoy a town they have loved for years. They’ll be back in a week or so for the Florida Seafood Festival, just as they have done for the past eight years.

Moe and Evette Parker, with the Krewe of St. Andrews in Panama City, took in Porch Fest on a recumbent tandem bicycle. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Listening was free, and there were plenty of tip jars carried around by some of the three dozen volunteers and they looked pretty full. The food vendors at Lafayette Park and Battery Park did a steady business.
The silent auction online drew lots of bids, and when Andy Bass auctioned off the Porch Fest poster at the gazebo, the highest bid was $450 from Chipley’s Randy Hetzel.
Add to that the many sponsorships, ranging from $2,500 to $100 each, and when the bills are all paid, it looks to be that the Elder Care Community Council will have a hefty donation for their mission of feeding the town’s senior citizens with Meals on Wheels and congregate dining at the Holy Family Senior Center.

For a winning bid of $450, Chipley’s Randy Hetzel took home the signed Porch Fest poster, held aloft by Marti Hoffman, a member of the “party planners” who form the event’s organizing committee. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Mick Barlement, a member of the organizing committee, said he worked to group the acts on the main stages by genre, so that folks who sat down for an afternoon of pleasure could enjoy a similar style of music.
The musicians each were paid, well below what they can command in private gigs, so that “we would have this level of talent,” he said.

Jan DeCosmo, right, Deanna Miller, center, and Shanice Richards jam with the Funky Taters at 22 Seventh Street, one of the most popular porches. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Will that evolution of talent soon see a big-name entertainer highlighting the fest?
Don’t count on it, said Barlement.
“Our goal is to maintain what we have,” he said. “We’re not trying to grow this into a larger event. We’re trying to keep something that has its own identity, in the neighborhood and parks.”

Donia Smith played sacred sounds on this porch at 111 Avenue D. [ Jim Smith | Contributed ]

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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