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Moondance Jam event helps boost Walker economy

by Robby Robinson
Bemidji Pioneer

Sunday, July 15, 2007

WALKER — Moondance Jam does more for the business community in Walker than the Fourth of July, says Walker Mayor Brad Walhof.

Moondance Jam 16, “Sweet 16,” came to a close of its four-day run Saturday night. Friday night it was reported to be one of the biggest single nights in jam history.

Walhof, the station manager for KQKK-FM and KAKK-AM, said he has been to the jam every year and remembers when there were just a few hundred people on the concert grounds and he has watched closely over the years as the music festival has grown in numbers, but also developed to make it a seemingly easy and safe event.

“There have been problems but they have been addressed and overcome by Bill and Kathy Bieloh with solutions involving the entire community, including government, business and law enforcement,” he said.

He said it has become a popular destination for people from all over the country and many who attend other festivals or the performers themselves come here and can’t believe how well the event is run.

Besides being mayor of Walker and in the business community, Walhof has other reasons for being such a fan of the jam. He and his wife, Cindy, had their first official date at the jam several years ago.

Cindy and Brad said that they both had lost their former spouses of 22 years each just a month apart in 2001.

They were both widowed and knew each other but it wasn’t until Moondance that they solidified their relationship when Brad, who had been a regular at the jam, invited Cindy, who had never been to the jam, to come with him.

“He just came to the office at the Ford dealership where I worked and plopped down two tickets and walked out,” she said. “I didn’t know what that meant. Later I asked him and he said they were for her and a friend to meet him there.”

Today the two are married and share similar interests, including Moondance Jam where Cindy works with the media and Brad with the radio station. Cindy said they are considered to be the “husband and wife team” at the jam.

“After losing our spouses after so many years of happy marriage and then meeting the perfect persons for each other for a second life, we were truly blessed,” said Cindy.

Both Brad and Cindy credit the Bielohs and Moondance Jam for having a hand in bringing them together.

“They are always there and they are always supporting the community,” she said. “We are grateful for having them in our lives.”