Arts & Entertainment

This year bittersweet for woman behind the music

The 13th annual Tumbleweed Festival, which is Sept. 5-6 at Howard Amon Park in Richland, will be bittersweet for Kennewick folk musician Micki Perry.

She and her late husband, John, have been organizers of the Three Rivers Folklife Society festival since its beginning. John died in March, leaving Micki to deal with organizing various aspects of the festival.

But Perry found out she's a lot tougher than she thought.

"John was supposed to chair this year's festival, which did leave me floundering for a while after he died because he knew so much more than I did about organizing," she said. "He loved this festival, as do I, but the show must go on."

There will be a special tribute concert starting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 to honor John Perry and his contributions to folk music as well as the Tri-City community.

Headline acts for Tumbleweed this year are Larry Murante, Watch the Sky, Elizabeth and Sandy LaPrelle and Shanghaied on the Willamette, as well as Dan Maher, Hank Cramer and Hawkeye Herman. There also will be a slew of local folk entertainers performing throughout the two-day event.

The best thing about the Tumbleweed Festival is that it's an event the whole family can enjoy, whether folk music is your thing or not, Perry said.

"The festival isn't all Kumbaya. We have some wonderful entertainment for the kids, too, and there'll be a swing dance as well," she said. Che' Oke Ten (a Native American group) tells great stories, and Bloody Wendy is a group that spins yarns and sings sea songs, she said.

There also will be exhibitions in belly dancing, swing, waltz, Israeli and Chinese dancing, a drum circle, Irish dancing, clogging, as well as contra dancing. Workshops also take place throughout the weekend.

Back Porch Swing Band, from Olympia, will provide the music for a swing dance happening at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 6.

Everything is free from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The evening concert on Sept. 5 will cost $8 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors.

A full schedule of events is at