August 1, 2008

Moxee Hop Festival — Lacey D Among the Merrymakers

By Kim Nowacki



This weekend, folks will be feelin' a little hop-blooded.

That's because the annual Moxee Hop Festival it taking over Moxee City Park with its usual mix of family fun and late-night revelry.

Organized by the East Valley Community Enhancement Association, the Hop Festival runs from 5 p.m. to midnight tonight and 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday.

Activities includes a rock climbing wall, a giant slide, karaoke, the Hop Queen coronation -- this year there's even a Hop King contestant -- fireworks, breakfast in the park, a 5K fun run, a parade, plenty of craft and food vendors, a street dance, live music and, of course, the deluxe beer garden.

Tonight's headliner in the beer garden -- where the party heats up after the sun goes down -- is the popular classic rock cover band The Shreds. Headlining Saturday is Shelley and the Curves, a dance party band out of Seattle with Wapato native Shelley (Paganelli) Tomberg at the helm.

During the day and into the evening on the main stage you'll find mariachi and banda music, bluegrass jams, smooth R&B and twangy country. Tonight features self-described "Northwest country girl" Lacey D. Johnston of Arlington, Wash.

Although it's less than 50 miles from Seattle, Arlington is surrounded by green fields and Black Angus cattle.

"Every morning you can smell the chicken farm, but I love it," says the 24-year-old singer, who goes by Lacey D.

Lacey recorded her first demo at 14, but it's only really been over the past two years that she's been working on her country career after taking a break to start a family.

"They are a great inspiration," she says of her two kids. "They give me a whole lot more to write about than when I was young and single."

Her songs, says Lacey, are about "love and life and God and family."

In December, Lacey released her debut album, "Everyday Girl," produced by Nashville's Scott Turner. Since then she's been pursing an international radio airplay campaign and made "CMA Close Up" magazine's list of "Who New To Watch" in 2008 -- despite being turned down for "American Idol" three times.

"I've faced rejection a lot, even going back to talent shows in school," she says. "Knowing there's not just one trail to the top of the mountain keeps me going."

Admission to the Hop Festival is free, although after 7 p.m. there is a $5 cover charge for the beer garden, which is 21 and over.

As always, proceeds from all this Moxee merrymaking are funneled back into East Valley in a number of ways, including college scholarships, community celebrations and funds for city improvement projects.

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