Festival embodies diverse community

Dancing, food and drumming open the Twilight Festival.
Friday, June 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Seventeen-month-old Hayden Christiansen bounced and swayed to the twang of a fiddle and the beating of drums in Flat Branch Park on Thursday, kicking off the beginning of the Twilight Festival in Columbia.

“He loves any music or dancing,” Hayden’s mother, Jessie Christiansen, said.

The Twilight Festival on Thursday included a Lewis and Clark exhibition with the Discovery String Band, the Eagle Talon Brotherhood American Indian Dancers, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s display of a dugout and animal furs, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial AmeriCorps Project and the Columbia Weavers and Spinners’ Guild.

“The kids get to touch the canoe instead of seeing it in a picture,” Jeff Cockerham of the Conservation Department said, “They will remember touching the canoe more than a picture.”

The Twilight Festival has been extended this year to include Flat Branch Park, which was dedicated in 2001. This is the first year it has been included in the Twilight Festival events.

“It’s a new park, and it was designed for events like this,” said Karen Ramey, recreation supervisor with the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. Columbia Farmers’ Market was also at Flat Branch Park, and it will continue to be in the park every Thursday in June. Twenty vendors set up last night and sold everything from Missouri-grown pecans to goat cheese.

Vera and Art Gelder own Walk-About Acres and were selling honey, beeswax candles and other products from their farm in Columbia. They have been with Columbia Farmers’ Market for one year and took the opportunity to set up at the Twilight Festival’s new venue Thursday.

“It’s a good way to get people out and get them aware,” Vera Gelder said.

Vendors at the market said they were seeing some new faces, and they hope to get more people interested in the market, which normally operates from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the parking lot at Clinkscales Road and Ash Street.

“It lets people know about Columbia Farmers’ Market,” Alouette Mayer, manager of the market, said of the festival. “It’s a different crowd.”

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