Rainy weather and forecasts for more storms didn’t stop community members from all over from enjoying the festivities and entertainment of Waterfest 2019.
Despite having to go on stage early Saturday due to the approaching storm, headliner John King said he loved performing and looks forward to visiting Excelsior again.
“I had an absolute blast at Waterfest,” he said. “The fans made me feel right at home and I cannot wait to come back again really soon!”
King said he filmed footage for a music video during the concert and encouraged concert goers to turn the space in front of the stage into a dance floor.
Those wishing to keep tabs on this country up-and-comer can visit his website at johnkingcountry.com. King said fans can also find his music on Spotify and Apple Music.
Parade Grand Marshal Josh Caldwell of the Kansas City Chiefs said the threat of rain would not spoil the Waterfest experience for him.
“It’s nice to be back in a small town,” he said. “I went to college in a small town in Maryville, Missouri and I got shipped off to Houston and then went back to Kansas City. So, it’s just nice to be back in that small town feeling and everyone here has been so welcoming and I can’t wait to meet everybody today.”
Before B-Boy Xodus performed with dancers from GX International Friday evening, he held a dance workshop, drawing audience members up to learn how to hold their own during a dance party.
Sammy Sweetser, a.k.a Xodus said everyone treated him with such hospitality and he would love to come back to Waterfest in the future.
“(I) just was privileged to be invited,” he said.
Sweetser said he plans to open a dance studio in September and can use sponsors. Anyone wishing to gain more information can do so by visiting facebook.com/sammy.sweetser.
Fans can also keep up with Xodus as he continues his journey on “So You Think You Can Dance.” The hit TV show broadcast his audition earlier this season and will soon show the break dancer in the academy as he continues his journey to becoming America’s favorite dancer.
Magician Victor Le’Yon walked the streets Saturday afternoon, showcasing his own special brand of close-up magic. He followed that up with a magic show on the Main Stage, drawing festival goers of all ages in with his illusions.
He said he described the crowd as very fun and energetic. He said he had “loads of fun” interacting with all those who came out.
“I enjoyed walking down the street and being about to meet people and shake hands and (get) hugs and show card tricks,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I hope to be back next year.”
Le’Yon also made an appearance at the Little Miss and Mr. Waterfest Pageant. He said although he did not get to spend as much time as he wanted there, he could see the talent of the children competing.
“It was really nice to see the community coming together like that,” he said.
Those wishing to keep up with Le’Yon can visit his website at victorleyon.com.
Those visiting this year’s quilt show saw the quilt and pillow sewed by 6-year-old Madelynn Pate. Pate said she learned to sew and quilt from her great-grandmother Racene Bolin. Young Pate said she loves to quilt because it allows her to spend time with Bolin.
“It’s fun because I get to spend time with her and we don’t get to spend time with her because we’re kind of far from her,” she said.
Pate, who will enter first grade at Bell Prairie Elementary in Kansas City in the fall learned to sew from an early age. Her mother Ashley Pate said she fondly remembers seeing her daughter as a baby, sitting on her great-grandmother’s lap as Bolin sewed.
For Bolin, the joy comes from passing down her love of sewing to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“It means a lot,” she said.
The Broadway Toyz booth showcased another young talent, who displayed her writing along with a woman loves to educate through her music.
Although 16-year-old Melody Barr wrote her first novel at the age of 13, she said she started writing as soon as she could hold a pen. She said although she used to be a chore to write, she realized she wanted to write the stories she saw in her head.
“I had the ideas and I really wanted to write (them) down and so I put them in my stories and I haven’t stopped since.”
Batt, who also illustrates her novels, said she continues to write because she fully believes the pen to be mightier than the sword. She wants to write books that could change lives.
Jody Jarrett said she began working as a Christian artist about 25 years ago. She simply wants her music to encourage others.
“(My music is about) things that I have gone through that maybe they’ve gone through that they can’t talk about, (they say) ‘I’m about to do that,’” she said. “Sometimes music is very much a healing factor because it pulls people together.”
Waterfest Chairperson Brian Rice said he couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this year’s festival.
“The Waterfest Committee works tirelessly all year long,” he said. “Their hard work and time commitment is simply incredible. It’s so rewarding to see such a huge turnout and to see so many people having a great time in downtown Excelsior Springs. It makes me proud to be part of the group of individuals who make this happen year after year. Waterfest never disappoints.”