Ana Lopez stores items for the Huntsdale Rendezvous & River Festival in her office at work. She stores stuff in her basement at home. She even carries boxes and signs around in her van.
“My van is a moving storage unit,” Lopez said.
Lopez is the coordinator for the annual festival that started in 2004 in celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition bicentennial. The event, which runs this year on Saturday Oct. 7 and Sunday Oct. 8, consists of people in period costumes sharing their knowledge of crafts and music from the early 1800s. It takes place in an encampment by the river, past a levee. Lopez loves the secluded spot.
“It’s as primitive as we can get it,” she said. “You can literally cross over that levee and you’ve gone back in time.”
Lopez, who owns Designer Plumbing, spends a good part of the year preparing for the festival. That includes two fundraisers — a garage sale and a catfish dinner. The festival has drawn 1,200 to 2,300 people in the past, and the dinner sold 160 tickets, she said. Almost the whole town gets involved in the preparation to varying degrees, Lopez said.
“It’s kind of like working as a team with the whole town,” she said.
Lopez has been a Huntsdale resident for six years and has grown to love the small town.
She considers the benefits of the festival twofold: The event brings recognition to the town and the townspeople closer together.
“We all have a goal to work for together every year,” Lopez said.
Lopez loved Huntsdale so much that she convinced her friend and assistant from Designer Plumbing, Shella Watson, to move there, bringing the residential total for Huntsdale to 22. Watson is also on the festival committee.
“She’s completely dedicated to running the festival,” Watson said of Lopez.
Before being elected three years running to coordinate the festival, Lopez knew only basic information about Lewis and Clark and had only attended a few other Rendezvous festivals, which happen across the country. Now, though, she anticipates the event.
“The greatest reward is when we’re doing it,” Lopez said. “We’re enjoying it when we’re at the festival.”