Mudstock rises to help Nelson Park

POULSBO — There was no mud for Mudstock. In fact, the sun shone brightly over the festival’s return to Little Norway after its six-year hiatus from the spotlight.

Even so, organizer Bill Austin and his group the Bight of Poulsbo are calling the event to raise money for Nelson Park restoration a rousing success.

“It was just beautiful. It was beyond my wildest dreams. A huge success,” said Austin, who gave most of the credit to his dedicated group of volunteers and local companies like Central Market, Poulsbo Market Place and Max Pro, which made donations to the cause.

The three-day event drew thousands of locals, who came to enjoy some great tunes, explore their epicurean sides, play with their children and just enjoy the waning days of summer. At the end of the weekend, 11 kegs of beer, six cases of wine and three cases of water were finished off.

The Bight of Poulsbo counted a $4,600 profit for the restoration project and plan another Mudstock for 2003.

“I realized that this is what the people want and that really makes me feel good,” Austin said. “I made an announcement over the PA that we’ll have it next year and a big cheer went up.”

The event offered entertainment choices for children of all ages, but some of the best fun was had by the younger crowd in the children’s play area.

Sarah Taylor brought her two-year-old daughter Addison to the gathering for a pony ride, which was a favorite pastime of many of the younger Mudstock attendees. The Taylor family just moved to the area from Portland and figured Mudstock would be the perfect way to feel like locals.

“We’re just trying to get into the community and see what’s what,” Taylor said.

For many community members the event at Nelson Park was a chance to see what all the hubbub was about. Restoring Nelson Park and its historical farmhouse has been an issue in the city for years and many people saw 14 live bands, food booths and general merriment as a great reason to see the work in progress.

“I needed to feed them,” said Poulsbo resident Dan Baskins while enjoying a bite on the Nelson farmhouse lawn with his friend’s children Tylor and Brooke. “So, I figured I’d come out and see Bill Austin’s grand event.”

Poulsbo resident Chuck Gamble said he’d been by Nelson Park many times but had never gotten around to going into the park and seeing what was there.

“It’s great,” Gamble said of his first impression of the park and its historic farmhouse. “The plans look great. It’s much bigger than I expected.”

Austin said he felt raising awareness for a beautiful park that was all but lost to the community years ago was the greatest reward for the work that went into the festival.

“To me, the success was the fact that I got a lot of comments like ‘Wow, I didn’t know this was here, this is great.’ It was just people discovering a new park, nothing could be better,” Austin commented.

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