Funsters rock Stango Park; among the swamp maples, the craic is good

A sea of people in colorful clothes and colorful chairs filled Stango Park for the concert. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 1, 2011

"We can dig potatoes; we can pick tomatoes." – Junior Walker, Shotgun


The Funsters brought out a crowd of more than 750 people of all ages to Stango Park in Lewes Tuesday night. They played Beatles, Temptations, Elvis, Steely Dan and a whole lot more.

Concert series organizer John Woodyard was all smiles as he scanned the crowd beneath the stately swamp maples and bald cypresses. He saw a sea of people sitting in colorful lawn chairs, listening intently, clapping now and then, waving to familiar faces, enjoying the craic.  (So what's craic?  It's an Irish term - pronounced crack -  that I've come to understand as the overall atmosphere of a situation. I first heard it in a Van Morrison talking song called Coney Island. "Driving out to Coney Island and the craic is good.")

On the perimeter of the crowd, Lewes police officers chatted among themselves and with people coming and going.  They stopped traffic for people to cross the street at the crosswalks.  Mike Tyler should feel proud that Lewes has become such an attractive town for pedestrians and bicyclists. Mike's been persistent and it has paid off.

People stood on the sidewalk, looking over the heads of the seated audience, talking and gossiping, catching up on the news of the community.  And out in the farthest reaches of the park, a group of 20 or so children played in the soft grass under the watchful eyes of parents still within eye- and ear-shot of the band, all joined by the gentle evening air and light.

The Funsters - what a great collection of musicians: drummers and horns, guitars and keyboards and bass and vocals. Ten of them in all.  Big band is back. They will be playing around Delaware's Cape Region all summer.  The summer concert series - up and down the coast and in all the Sussex towns - add so much to the warm scene.

And a final note.  Speaking of digging potatoes and picking tomatoes, Ricky Simms walked by at one point with a pretty, small yellow squash carried lovingly in his hand.  He had just picked it from his nearby garden.  "First one of the summer," he said with a smile.

There's no doubt the squash - like the people in the audience - thrive better in a magical, musical setting where the craic is good.