But while Connect originally targeted 20-somethings, Stephens said, the event has evolved to become more inclusive of younger children and adults of all ages.
“We found many bring the younger members of their family,” he said, and the event had to adapt.
While older audiences enjoyed the craft beer and food vendors in front of the main stage while listening to performances from The Family Secret, Joan Shelley and Friends and Plum Hokum, more activities awaited around the lake.
A group of musicians played fast tempo drums and sang while small children twirled and danced by a bonfire. Kids morphed into trees behind a screen and provided a shadow show, while professionals juggled fire or stalked around dressed as large creatures.
For those wanting to “connect with nature” on a physical level, a large mud pit attracted kids of all ages as they splashed around and quickly became unrecognizable to their parents as the clean kids they’d brought to the forest. Around the bank, a large wooden structure was ignited for an evening spectacle.
As the sun set and the air cooled, large hot air balloons could be seen glowing from across the lake, something new this year, Stephens said.
“They were a big hit, and we will investigate having them back next year,” he said.
Bernheim Connect of 2018 will celebrate the event’s 10 year anniversary, and Stephens said guests can expect new and different things to take root in the future.
While Connect brings Bernheim’s larger summer events to a close and the forest winds down in preparation for the colder months, there are many more opportunities to connect with nature with upcoming hikes, discovery days and special presentations. Visit bernheim.org for a list of upcoming events.