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Pickin’ in the park: Edgewood festival offers music, art at Wildlife West

Folk music tells a story and there will be many tales told during the Edgewood Music & Arts Festival.

The festival on Saturday, July 29, celebrates its 15th year at the Wildlife West Nature Park. Headliners include John McCutcheon, Coral Creek and traditional bluegrass performers James Reams & The Barnstormers. Local musicians including the Adobe Brothers, Cali Shaw Band, Coyote Crossing, Higher Ground, JeeZ LaWeeZ, Peggy Douglas and Swamp Coolers also will perform. McCutcheon is a folk singer, songwriter, storyteller, activist and author who plays 12 instruments. Colorado’s Coral Creek plays a bluegrass blend.

“I call it kind of bluegrass; it’s like bluegrass with an edge, and it appeals to probably the little younger folk, and it’s kind of jazzy and bluegrassy and kind of amazing,” Roger Alink, founder and director of Wildlife West Nature Park, said of Coral Creek. “They are a little younger. It’s plain ‘ol fun.”

Twenty artists will be at the event selling their original work, and the nature park will be open to eventgoers to tour the grounds and see the rescued animals that call the park home. Proceeds from the event go to the nature park, a nonprofit that relies on donations. The nature park, now in its 25th year, relies on professionally trained volunteers to care for the animals. The Youth Conservation Corps built the park, its habitats and buildings. Alink, a licensed contractor and former high school shop teacher, trains youths in construction.

“We’re 120 acres; we have all native rescued wildlife, so we have mountain lions, deer and elk, and we have raccoons and a lot of hawks and owls,” Alink said. “We have 20 different kinds of rescued wildlife, and they are all in fairly large natural habitats. The tour for the wildlife visitation is a mile and a quarter, so they’re spread out pretty nice so they don’t feel contained too much. So they have room.”

The park recently added four orphaned baby gray foxes.

These baby gray fox brothers were found on a construction site and brought to the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood. Proceeds from the Edgewood Music & Arts Festival benefit the park. (Courtesy of Roger Alink)

“They’re all little brothers, and they are just as cute as can be,” Alink said. “Their mother was drowned in a tank on a construction site, and they found them there, the little babies, and the game warden came and brought them to the Wildlife Rescue, and then they transferred them to us. They’re just amazing. They make you smile every time you see them.”

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