Sunday, June 22, 2008

West Virginia Folk Festival: Day 2

Breakfast at the Common Place Restaurant--good food, and Yankees and Confederates at the same table! 2nd Virginia and 116th Pennsylvania, to be exact. The fact of the matter was there weren't usually enough Yanks to turn out, so this guy dresses in a Yanks uniform although he's actually a Confederate! They were gracious enough to allow my camera to intrude after my husband commented on the oddity of opposing sides at the same table.
Dr. Patrick Gainer's granddaughter, Molly Callame, led a ballad session in the Oral Traditions tent. To hear her daughter and Molly harmonizing--pure, complete pleasure.

I was surprised and delighted to meet a delegation of ladies from my home county (Jackson) in the Oral Traditions tent). This year's Jackson County Belle is in the center of the group.

Larry is admonished by Eleanor Roosevelt, who apparently rose from the grave for the festival.

More storytellers and poets were featured in the Oral Traditions tent. Friday we featured poets Kirk Judd and Sherrell Wigal and storytellers Suzi Whaples and myself. Saturday I was emcee for the tent, and had a great time introducing and listening to the presenters. I also presented a ballad workshop later in the day (pics to come later, I hope).

Storyteller Ilene Evans had a standing-room only crowd that had organizers scrambling to find chairs. Ilene told the story of Wiley and the Hairy Man (you can find a short reader's theatre version here) and the audience sang along with her in the song about a slave who ran to freedom in Lost John (find a plethora of versions here).

Storyteller Fred Powers raised goosebumps with his tale of being trapped by a roof-fall in a coal mine...

and Rich Knoblich kept the crowd engrossed with Soldier Jack. This is one of my favorites of the Jack Tales cycle.

Poet Cheryl Denise read her award-winning poems to the crowd to complete the program.

Glenville had other interesting sites to see too, like this view of the "old road" through town and over the iron bridge, and the tiny Little Kanawha Bank and Trust Building.

I confess I did not take as many photos as I would have liked. Either I was too busy or the camera was where I was not. Some memorable moments not captured on the camera:

  • Ilene telling her stories
  • Mr. Bill Bennett, wearing his 50-year-old Glenville Lions Club jacket with pride
  • a mandolin player in a wheelchair
  • a boy of about 5 years singing harmony with a bluegrass group
  • children splashing delightedly through a puddle
  • the huge group of square dancers
  • old-time music icons like Lester McCumbers, John Morris, Jimmy Costa, Patty Looman and many others playing in jams on the streets
  • people meeting and greeting everywhere
  • and contrasts : the old-time country life of Gilmer County and West Virginia banging up against, and for the most part accommodating, the new trends and generations.

It was an unusual way to spend my birthday, but it was a whole lot of fun!

1 comment:

City Mouse said...

That surely looks like fun, and a cool little town. That Confederate dressed in a Yanks uniform ... are you sure he's not a double agent?!!


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