The bands are getting back together.
Every year around this time, up to a dozen musicians who regularly performed at The Hungry Farmer bar and restaurant get together the night before Thanksgiving to relive their rock star days. Once a favorite spot for locals, the dining establishment closed in 2003 after 34 years due to the economy and increasing competition.
The 38th annual The Hungry Farmer Bands' Thanksgiving Reunion is Wednesday at Stargazers Theatre and Event Center. Admission is two non-perishable food items or a small cash donation for Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.
Sean Anglum, one of the musicians and event organizers, said he looks forward to the show every year.
"It makes us feel kind of old," Anglum said. "We go, 'Thirty-eight years. We're insane. We're a little crazy for this.' Just about all of us, other than one or two, don't do music as any sort of livelihood anymore. You get a feeling playing that you don't get anywhere else. It keeps me from selling my equipment."
Long ago, as a way to thank the musicians who played at the restaurant, general manager Chuck Holder offered to serve a pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner so they could hang out and socialize. The musicians, who were never able to play together, asked if they could hold a jam session after the meal, and the longtime tradition was born.
About 300 to 350 people show up every year to mingle and dance to about a dozen of the old bands, such as Fall River Road, Buffalo Dreams, Mountain Flyer, Clones of the Pioneers and Auto Pilot. Musicians through the years have included Rob Wheeler, Lewis Mock, Steve Foster, Joe Bevans and Cindy Greene.
The evening kicks off with acoustic stuff and songs the bands played at The Hungry Farmer - country rock, rock 'n' roll and some bluegrass, all from the 1970s, '80s and early '90s. The second set gets a little wilder and electric, with more country rock from bands including the Eagles.
"At some point we abandon all hope and go rock 'n' roll and play The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, The Kinks, The Beatles, some Beach Boys stuff," said Anglum. "It progresses, or digresses, into that every year."