Photo: Verne Fest rocks at Davis Park

Lou “Super Fly” Rios, lead singer of Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) Hall of Fame band Big Daddy Woo Woo, performs at Davis Park Friday, May 25, during the first day of the two-day Verne Fest. The festival was a tribute to Rockford’s No. 1 music fan, Verne K. Smith. Smith died at age 64 Jan. 12, 2011, after a battle with esophagus cancer. A staple at live music events, Smith’s passing left a hole in the local music community. Sometimes known as “Dancin’ Verne,” Smith was often the first to arrive at gigs, sometimes before the bands, and the last to leave. The goal of Verne Fest is to raise funds to create a permanent memorial at Davis Park in honor of Smith, a RAMI Scholarship in Smith’s honor, and to make a donation to The Arc of Winnebago, Boone & Ogle Counties. (Photo by Frank Schier)

From the May 30-June 5, 2012, issue