RICHMOND -- Four days of music and fun kicked off at the biggest campground in Minnesota on Thursday night. The 40th annual Minnesota Bluegrass August Festival runs through Sunday at the El Rancho Manana Campground near Richmond.

The event features food vendors, art vendors, games, workshops, dancing, and of course, bluegrass music.

This year’s headliner, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, will take the stage on Saturday night. Event Manager Matt Johnson says they wanted to go big for the 40th anniversary.

We had a little fundraiser called 40 for 40. We were trying to raise $40,000 for the 40th anniversary here and we nearly reached that goal. We had some super private donors that helped us out with our budget to make this thing happen for the 40th, to kick it up that notch this year.

Skaggs has many accolades to his name including over 10 Grammy awards, multiple CMA and ACM awards, as well as a spot in both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Johnson says there is one other big change this year.

We are serving beer actually for the first time ever in 40 years. That's a big one. It's always been a point of contention with many people, but it's just time to do it like any other festival. People like to just sit and enjoy a beer and watch bluegrass music.

Other groups in the 35-hour lineup include Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and local favorite, Monroe Crossing.

Tickets are still available at the gate and come in a variety of day and night packages. Kids 12 and under are free.

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