WARNOCK LAKE — Despite the triple-digit heat, thousands of concert-goers alike traveled to Warnock Park to listen to Kip Moore, Devin Dawson and Kylie Morgan perform at Atchison’s annual LakeFest on Friday.

The annual concert kicks off the beginning of the Amelia Earhart festival which runs through Sunday. The event attracts attendees near and far, and Friday proved to be no exception despite a weather station on Atchison Globe‘s roof recording a boiling 115-degree heat index in the late afternoon.

For Victoria Emons, Atchison native, LakeFest was her first concert she has ever attended.

“I just like the music and always wanted to go to one and have some fun,” Emons said.

Decked out in her own cheetah print cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat, Emons owns four pairs of cowgirl boots and five cowgirl hats.

When asked who her favorite country artist was, Emons was quick to respond: Kip Moore.

“The one I’m seeing right now,” Emons said.

While many attendees were actual Atchison residents, some attendees made the trip from great distances to listen to the live music.

For Victoria Zipay and Grace Sammoury, Benedictine College students, LakeFest became a reunion for friends.

Sammoury, a native of Longmont, Colorado, and Zipay, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, made a road trip out of the weekend.

“It came together pretty spontaneously,” Sammoury said. “I knew I was coming back because I wanted to bring stuff for my apartment and I texted our roommate, who is also from Colorado, asking if she wanted to go with me.

“And then we told our other two roommates that we were going back and suddenly Victoria had a flight from Anchorage. Our friend from Kansas flew to Colorado to drive back to Kansas with us, just to be with us.”

However, the concert meant more than the music for them.

“I don’t even really like country music all that much but I love the relationships that I’ve built while I’ve lived in Atchison and the community of the town,” Sammoury said. “I love that I can walk into Walmart and the guy checking out knows my name.”

Zipay agreed.

“Atchison has become synonymous with the word home,” Zipay said. “I was leaving home to come here, but it felt like I was finally coming back home here to see all the old places and the old faces.”

Thousands gathered to listen to the music, soak in the sun’s rays and to celebrate the legacy of Amelia Earhart all while sharing a piece of her home with those who know it as such and those who grow to love it as such.

Maddie Bruegger is a Benedictine College student and correspondent for Atchison Globe. Provide feedback on this story via globe@npgco.com

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