NORTH CREEK Toes were tapping and the pickers were grinning this weekend as several hundred visitors gathered at North Creeks Ski Bowl Park for the fifth annual Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival. The yearly event draws fans from all over the northeast and Canada for three days of musical entertainment, camping, concessions, and the opportunity to get acquainted with fellow fans. From humble beginnings, the festival has grown to become one of the areas largest outdoor musical events, with attendance numbers large enough to attract several big name acts. The Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival is supported by Upper Hudson Festivals, Inc. a local non-profit organization that focuses on musical enrichment for area youth and supports events such as the Concert by the River series. Several major sponsors contribute to the festival each year, including Denton Publications and Lincoln Logs Ltd. This years event was notable for its perfect weather and healthy attendance. While the final ticket sales have not been tallied yet, event promoter Lloyd Burch felt that overall attendance would equal last year, despite a modest decline in visitors with motor homes. We cant be sure yet but I have the feeling that what we lost in motor home campers was made up in car traffic, Burch says. With the price of gas its probably cheaper for them to get a local hotel and travel by car. With the events increasing reputation and loyal attendance by Bluegrass fans, event organizers have been able to secure several nationally famous groups. Events opened on Friday, Aug. 22, with music starting at noon and continuing into the evening. Appearing on stage were Dave Nichols and Spare Change, Blue Lightning, Sweet Cider, John Hudson & Friends, Beartracks, and the Doerfel Family. On Saturday the music started at 10 a.m. and continued non-stop through the evening. The highlight of the day was two, one-hour sets with the infamous James King. Also appearing on Saturday were Dave Nichols & Spare Change, the Atkinson Family, Smokey Greene, Cabin Fever, John Hudson & Friends, Beartracks and Southern Rail. Sunday morning opened at 8:30 a.m. with an old-time gospel sing. Music for the day started and ended with sets by Smokey Greene, a festival tradition. Also appearing on Sunday were Southern Rail, Cabin Fever, the Atkinson Family and John Hudson & Friends. Outdoor music in North Creek will continue on Friday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m., with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad playing at the Riverside Pavilion complex adjacent to the Upper Hudson River Railroad. This is a free and family-friendly event, hosted as part of the Music by the River Concert Series.