Back in the 1970s a wonderful series of books came out that really either reminded us (or informed us) of several of the wonderful traditions of Appalachian culture. These books contained interviews and photos and instructions on how to do things like instrument making, broom making, blacksmithing, beekeeping, toy making, quilting and much more. At least in my circle of friends these books were popular and they fueled many a daydream and many a Saturday afternoon project. The books were The Foxfire Books and we own all twelve of them, as well as several other things published by the same company in McConnell Library – if you can’t find them any library employee can lend a hand. If you haven’t looked through them they are fascinating and are truly worth the time.
So, that brings me to the point of this post- this weekend the Radford University Appalachian Events Committee is putting on their annual Folk Arts Festival! The festival will run from 10AM until 4PM on Saturday on Heth Lawn and at it will be a variety of craft people demonstrating and selling traditional Appalachian crafts, tools and culture. There will be a blacksmith, quilters, leather workers, basket makers, beekeepers and several others some will be willing and able to demonstrate their craft and all will be available to talk about them (does that list of things sound familiar?). Speaking from experience, I will tell you that the crafts people and artisans at these events really enjoy talking to people and love it when someone takes an interest in what they do, so don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation and ask questions.
There will also be live music from 10:00am until 4:00pm and it looks like a nice variety of bands will be there. Among the bands are:
Moccassin Gap is a five piece bluegrass band hailing from the Gate City, VA/Kingsport, TN area.
The Wolfe Brothers are a three-part-harmony singing four piece old-time band from Grayson County. They have been around for a long time and I always like to hear that- it’s tough sometimes for bands to stay together for long periods of time. They have recorded 5 CDs as a band and some of them have recorded with other projects.
Also performing will be Grassy Hollow Band (led by Appalachian sketch artist Willard Gayheart), Victory XPress Blu-graz Band, Stevie Barr and Friends, and County Connection.
There will also be an auction at noon to benefit the Robert Glen and Cora Green Toney Appalachian Studies Scholarship. So come on by, enjoy the music, learn about the crafts and enjoy learning more about our culture!