ST. ALBANS — Queen wasn’t scheduled to hit the stage for two hours, but the crowd was already lining up chairs on the curb.
Meanwhile, Kingman Fest’s organizers, Lauren Warshofsky and Shannon Smith were making sure Saturday’s event was proceeding as planned.
“So far, everything is going well. It seems like a good turnout,” Warshofsky said from the People’s Trust Company parking lot.
Nearby, children were petting puppies and jumping on bouncy houses. Cobble Hill Kennel had set up a pen so people could check out their dogs, and children were hesitantly reaching in to hand off a dog treat to an awaiting puppy.
Doug Butler, the Cobble Hill Kennel owner, watched from the sidelines. He had been approached by event organizers to bring a few of his competitive sledding kennel dogs to help out with the event.
“The idea is to help people, and dogs help people,” he said.
Behind him, children were lining up to jump in bouncy houses or run through an inflated obstacle course from Bounce Around Vermont, and on Kingman Street, less than 100 feet away, food vendors had lines of people waiting to grab a bite to eat.
As the sun set on the scene, the crowds just kept coming. When the actual performance began, the street was practically standing room only due to the 3,000 to 4,000 that came out for the event.
By 7:30 p.m. the Queen cover band, fronted by local musician Jesse Agan dressed in a green sparkly jumper to emulate the flamboyant costumes of Queen singer Freddie Mercury, rolled out the first song on its setlist – “One Vision”.
“How are you guys doing out there?” Agan yelled out over the crowd. They returned his enthusiasm with a few “whoos!” and more dancing.
The hits continued throughout the night. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” had men and women dramatically acting out its iconic back-and-forth chorus lines, and “Don’t Stop Me Now” had them jumping with energy.
As for next year, Warshofsky and Smith have some time to figure out what a similar block party could look like, but if the day’s crowds were any indication, the first Kingman Fest definitely had plenty of people interested to see what could come next.
“People are talking about doing more events like this in the future,” Warshofsky said.