TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Emily Bennett admitted to having some nerves ahead of the “Blues at the Crossroads” festival held on Sep. 9th and 10th.

The addition of a second outdoor stage as the event expanded in the downtown area was one reason. Bennett oversaw the kids zone, which was another new element.

Once the event wound down late Saturday night, she was finally able to take a breath and reflect.

 “The festival is a well-oiled machine at this point,” she said. “The party was all weekend, and it was a great time for everybody.”

Bennett, the director of education for the Swope Art Museum, said the kids zone was a huge success in its first year. Events included several arts and crafts stations, an interactive exhibit featuring professional musicians from the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and a foam pit on Friday.

Bennett estimated they saw several hundred kids on each day.

“There were definitely a lot of families that I know personally that hadn’t been to Blues Fest before because they have kids, and they didn’t know if it was a family friendly event. So we worked hard to publish the information that this is family friendly,” Bennett said. “Bring your kids because it’s free if you’re 16 or under.”

Bennett also reflected on how it felt to watch the festival continue to grow. She helped work the first one, back in 2001.

“I think I was 11, and my cousins and I would work the Coke booth, there was one Coca-Cola trailer, and we would see Cokes for a dollar,” she said. “I’m just super proud of how much it’s grown, and how much people love it. It started out great, and it’s continued to build and build over the years.”

Bennett said they were still waiting on final numbers on this year’s ticket sales.