Heybrook Hoedown'a groovy festival for a great cause

By Jen Ryan Mauck, Contributing Writer
The charming town of Index, Washington is hosting their annual Heybrook Hoedown this Saturday, Oct. 25 from 4-10 p.m. at the River House'a cozy riverfront lodge nestled amongst the stunning Wild Sky Wilderness, a congressionally-designated wilderness area in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Heybrook Hoedown is the ultimate block party, and for $25 a ticket (kids 12 and under get in free), festival-goers can enjoy live music, delicious fare, hypnotizing scenery and a live auction, with items donated by local artists and activists.
The official band of the hoedown, Spare Rib and the Bluegrass Sauce, will set an uplifting vibe with their rhythmic jazz and funk melodies. If the crowd is fortunate enough (and ready to dance!), Rib and his bandmates might even perform their crowd-pleasing rendition of the Guns n' Roses hit, "Sweet Child of MineGÇ¥ along with a set of original songs.
Board member and former president of the Friends of Heybrook organization, Sue Cross, expressed the overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation that the community has for Spare Rib and the Bluegrass Sauce. She stated, "We feel like Index belongs to the band, and the band belongs to Index. They have been with Hoedown since the beginning, performed at every Hoedown, and in fact, the band from its inception has supported nonprofit causes such as the Wild & Scenic Institute.GÇ¥ The Wild & Scenic Institute provides environmental education and outdoor recreation to youth who, due to their physical, cultural, or financial barriers, would not otherwise have the opportunity.
The Hoedown is undoubtedly a very special event for the community. The annual festival, established in 2006, has raised significant amounts of money to conserve Heybrook Ridge. Cross explained that, because of such fundraisers, Index' natural habitat is thriving. "Eight years ago we were facing the almost-certain probability that Heybrook Ridge would be clear-cut.-áThanks to a small group of activists, a very generous anonymous donor and a county parks department with vision and action, we instead have a forested ridge.GÇ¥
This year's goal is to raise enough money for supplies and materials to build trails. Cross explained that the Snohomish County Parks Department, with the help of the Conservation Futures Fund, has been instrumental in their support, but that the county's budget does not include funds for building trails. Funds raised at the Hoedown will help considerably.
"Soon,GÇ¥ Cross stated, "the people of Snohomish County will be able to hike trails to viewpoints on the ridge, and eventually connect with the Wild Sky Wilderness in Index's back yard.-áFor a community whose lifeblood is outdoor recreation (hiking, climbing, rafting), this is a critical asset in our area.GÇ¥
For more information about the Heybrook Hoedown, please visit: http://www.heybrookridge.org/hoedown-2014/


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