Back in March, when I sat in on one of the first meetings of the committee for the Music Is Art Festival and the dedication of Dave Grohl Alley, I took notes and nodded politely as Warren Police Sgt. Joseph O'Grady and Jennifer Campbell of Main Street Warren talked about their plans for the event and how they hoped to lure Grohl here.
And the whole time I'm thinking - ''Not gonna happen.''
When the festival started on July 26, I still didn't think it would happen, even as O'Grady seemed a little more willing crawl out on a limb and hint that the guest of honor just may attend the bash.
Sometimes, it's nice to be wrong.
It's hard to imagine how Saturday's alley dedication ceremony could have been better. The weather was perfect and a vocal, but well-behaved crowd turned out to greet Grohl. The crowd has been estimated around 1,000 people, which seems a little conservative, but more or less accurate. But I have a feeling the event is going to be a like Len Barker's perfect game for the Cleveland Indians in 1981. A lot more people are going to claim they were there than were actually there (those who missed it - or want to relive it - can go to my blog on the Tribune Chronicle's Web site to find links to footage of the event).
The only thing more perfect than the weather was the guest of honor himself.
Grohl seemed truly humbled by the crowd and all of the effort put into the alley. And for those who thought Grohl's local ties were too tenuous to merit all of the hoopla (he was born here but moved to Virginia shortly thereafter), Grohl sounded like the perfect native son.
"This was one of my most favorite places in the world," he told the crowd. "I am very, very proud to have this and to be from here because I know I can always come back here and be home."
Grohl pounded away on the drums with local band Love Turns Hate and then performed a three-song acoustic set featuring some of his biggest Foo Fighter hits - ''Times Like These,'' ''My Hero'' and ''Everlong.''
Grohl dedicated ''My Hero'' to O'Grady, who hatched the idea for dedicating an alley after a barroom conversation with WNCD-FM DJ Fast Freddie. As great as it was standing about five feet from Grohl as he played that acoustic set, what I'll remember most is watching O'Grady standing at the side of stage trying to hide behind a pair of sunglasses the swell of emotion he was feeling while Grohl sang ''My Hero.''
The perfect finale makes it easier to overlook that many of the 50 local acts that performed during the week played to paltry crowds.
Some of that was a result of an over-ambitious plan. Campbell already is hinting that organizers may scale back from seven days to three if there is another festival next year.
I was one of the lucky few who was there at the start of Saturday's musical lineup, when Damian Knapp played a version of ''I Can See Clearly Now'' that tempered the exuberance of the Johnny Nash original with a hint of melancholy. Hopefully, Knapp and his band, Fester Presley, will have a better crowd when they play Saturday at the The Horseshoe in Warren.
If the next Dave Grohl that the Mahoning Valley produces was at the festival this week, most of us missed it (and I'm including myself in that group. Because of work and family commitments, I only was able to get there for a short time on Tuesday and Thursday to see how things were going before the final day).
But I don't want to dwell on the negative. In an area where pessimism dominates the conversation, last weekend's events have me feeling a little more optimistic.
Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at email@example.com