A rather low-key and family friendly musical festival made it's mark over the past weekend in Gays Mills. A production of the band Cosmic Railroad, the event offered up ten bands, food and vending over three days along the banks of the Kickapoo River.
The band hails from Kenosha and brought a following from around the state on their visit.
The event is in it's seventh year according to band manager Moses.
"It started in a back yard," said Moses. "We realized that wasn't enough space so we moved to a campground."
"We were in Janesville for four years, next to a highway, which wasn't ideal," Moses said as a group of young children ran past nearby. "We tried a few other campgrounds, but they weren't quite the right fit. We're hoping this is."
Several attendees expressed satisfaction and the handful of locals who found their way to the unadvertised event expressed the hope it would return.
The group certainly seemed committed to engender good will with their visit. Learning of the town's recovery efforts after the floods in the fall of 2007 and summer of 2008, they threw together a spontaneous raffle to raise funds toward the ongoing relocation, bringing in approximately $350 according to art vendor and photographer Ryan Kulpa who ran the raffle.
"Several of the artists attendng donated artwork when they learned about the floods," Kulpa said. "We saw the empty spaced downtown and asked what was happening. When we learned about the floods we wanted to do something to help."
"It might not be much," Kulpa said. "But it's what we can do on short notice."
Perhaps this time next year, Cosmic Railroad will be back at the Stumpdodger Campground and another annual event will call Gays Mills home.