One of the most unique festivals I’ve been to is this past weekend’s Rotary Discovery Fest Cracker Cattle Drive and Cowboy Roundup. The city of Ocala goes all out to support the festival, and it’s one of the most heavily attended I’ve been to.
What sets this festival apart? (Story continues after photos)
Cowboys drive a herd of cattle through town to Tuscawilla Park. Everyone lined up along the street to watch. A group of us went to hear The Crazy Daysies Rebecca Day (vocals, guitar) and Jennifer Day Thompson (viola, vocals) with band members Wes Goode (lead guitar, vocals) and Chris Sands (drums), along with Josh Cobb (bass). The band launched into an impromptu version of the American classic ‘Rawhide’ with Wes doing vocals as the cattle arrived.
Playing the second part of the day was the popular band Hayfire who rocked the festival with classic country tunes.
As a band mom, I’ve been to a lot of places. This town has to be one of the friendliest I’ve visited, and the festival ran like a well-constructed machine. The weather was perfect, the cows and horses were amazing, and I even got to snap a pic of a cowboy checking his cell phone while riding his horse.
The Cracker Cattle Drive apparently has the support of the townspeople as well as visitors from outside the city. Folks began to arrive early and the diverse crowd was enthusiastic enough to hang around.
I’d never seen a cattle drive. Now, thanks to Ocala, I have, and I hope to go back next year.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Feb. 16, 2017)