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Mudstock hopes to make it stick at Nelson Park

POULSBO It’s been about six years since the word “Mudstock” has been tossed around Poulsbo, but if creator Bill Austin has his way, it will be a household term for years to come.

Plans are underway to revive the musically-fueled, family-oriented event but before the first band hits the stage, Austin and members of the non-profit organization Bight of Poulsbo must put everything together in a relatively short time. Wednesday Austin told members of the Community Services Committee the gathering was slated for Aug. 23, 24 and 25 — giving supporters a little over four months to make it happen.

The daunting timeline won’t deter the Bight, which has its sights set on not only making Mudstock an annual event but using it to help fund much-needed improvements to a historic farmhouse at Nelson Park. The dilapidated home has been targeted by the group as a community restoration project and members are working hard to ensure that renovation plans go forward.

“Mudstock is a benefit to raise funds or at least raise awareness for Nelson Park,” Austin explained, estimating that repairs to the home will cost about $180,000.

They might be able to get that with beer sales alone.

The 1994 Mudstock sold 30 kegs of beer on the first day, Austin reported.

But to keep the event in the suds, the Bight will have to seek a variance to Poulsbo’s alcohol ordinance, which prohibits alcohol at the majority of city venues and parks.

“I don’t remember any complaints,” Councilman Dale Rudolph said of the previous beer gardens.

Bight “speaker of the house” Jim Nall, said the area would be fenced off and qualified volunteer servers would be used to ensure there wouldn’t be any alcohol-related problems at the event. The group will be planning for a smaller celebration as well, he added — at least for 2002.

“We want to start it off small and have no problems,” Austin said. “But (eventually) we want to get this so big the City of Poulsbo will be a parking lot.”

A “parking lot” was exactly what the city turned into during Mudstock’s formative years, Austin admitted, adding that traffic was at a standstill when the party was held on Lindvig Way.

“The first two years made a few people mad but they also made a lot of people happy,” he said. “It’s like the ying and the yang.”

“The people from Silverdale were the yang,” Councilman Mike Regis observed, explaining that the vast majority of complaints the city received during the 1994 and 1995 events were from angry Central Kitsap motorists who got stuck in Little Norway gridlock.

Austin said he would do his best to avert a similar situation this summer. The 90-day Front Street enhancement project, which started earlier this week, should be completed by July and would not impact the concerts, Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey said.

This was good news to Austin, who replied, “When you’re doing a project like this you cannot make a mistake — you must not.”

When McCluskey asked who would be cleaning up Nelson Park after the event, Austin smiled as offered an explanation, “My brother and I swept the entire Lindvig Way after the first one... in 80-degree weather... with a hangover.”

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