EAST LIVERPOOL - Despite the event's theme, there was no need for an oil drum fire, as an unusually warm and sunny autumn afternoon provided the setting for Hobo Sunday, the final "Country Jammin' on the River" event held yesterday at Broadway Wharf.
The live outdoor music and dancing gatherings, which began meeting at the wharf in July, concluded with a hobo theme, featuring hot soup and cornbread. Attendees were encouraged to come dressed appropriately, and prizes were awarded to the couple with the best hobo outfits.
Ruth Horner of Hanoverton, who organized the event with her husband, Joe, said the gatherings are meant to give people who enjoy traditional country music a place to come and appreciate it. "They like the old country, and that's just about what we all do," Ruth said. Folks are also encouraged to join in the singing and playing, or to get up and dance when the mood strikes them.
Couples decked out in their hobo finest got up and danced to the music at the Broadway Wharf for the final “Country Jammin’ on the River” event for the season on Sunday afternoon. The theme of the event was “Hobo Sunday.”(Photo by Richard Sberna)
Although this was the final jam session of the year at Broadway Wharf, the gatherings are scheduled to continue indoors on the last Monday of each month at the Salineville Kiwanis Club through the fall and winter. Looking forward, Horner said representatives from the wharf have already invited them to continue with their biweekly jam sessions next year when summer begins.
Many of the estimated 150 attendees got up and danced to their favorite tunes, such as "Waltz of the Angels," sung by Ruth herself, with accompaniment from local musicians who know about the sessions and simply show up to play. She stressed that there's never a set list and the selections performed are always spontaneous, depending on the songs requested or sung by willing volunteers. "If you can sing, you just sign up and sing," Ruth said.
One volunteer who wowed the crowd with her precocious talent was 11-year-old Anyiah Hauser of Monaca. The young vocalist sang old favorites like "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Coat of Many Colors." According to her grandmother, Phyllis Yoko, the girl has only been singing publicly for five months but has already begun to attract attention.
Anyiah hopes to pursue her talent further as she grows up, and her grandmother already has plans to take her on a trial trip to Nashville next summer. For now, however, Anyiah is enjoying each opportunity to share her favorite songs with an appreciative crowd. "It's really cool and fun," she said.
Loren Coler of Leetonia, who has been a regular at the sessions, said that he enjoyed the opportunity to sing in a casual, friendly environment. He has pursued singing on a part-time basis for many years, but said the jam sessions presented his first opportunity to sing with live musicians. "This has been a good summer out here," he said. "This is just a fun thing."
That word seemed to be the simple, common attraction for the day. "It's fun to see the people get excited about it," said Tabatha Horner Fischer, Joe and Ruth's daughter, who volunteers alongside her parents at the events. "I think that's why we have such a big crowd: It's always fun."