48th annual Walnut Valley Festival kicks off on Wednesday

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The 48th annual Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield kicks off on Wednesday, but people have been camping out for weeks. With attendance expected between twelve and thirteen thousand people this is no small event. However, one thing campers can always count on is the daily newsletter. When thinking about the festival, most people think bluegrass and country music, but one of the most important people there is not a musician at all.  

"If I'm not here by 8 o'clock in the morning, the line out there in the information booth area is already started because they want the days schedule,” said Larry Junker, the writer of the newsletter.

During the festival, Junker always starts his day the same way. Finishing the schedule, then going out and looking for stories to tell. This is Junker's 22nd year in charge of writing the daily newsletter. It's an important role that keeps him busy all day long. 

"Over my twenty-plus years I have met so many people. It's just a good feeling that we're all back here again to enjoy the walnut valley festival,” said Junker. 

The newsletter contains everything from event times to food and attractions, and of course, music. Russell Brace is going on his 37th year attending the festival. He says it's the unity that brings him back. Differences in opinions and beliefs, for one solemn week, are set aside to just enjoy the company.

"The music is what brings us all together. And that sustains us through the year and we're ready to come back again next year. Nobody has any, you know, I'm better than you thing really going. It's just everybody is just down here to play music and have fun,” said Brace. 

For anyone who has never been to the festival before, they have one message for you.

"Come on down to Winfield. Once you've experienced it, I guarantee you'll be back next year.” 

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