Tuesday, August 21, 2001

First-time folk fest has Kentucky flavor

Diverse music, crafts, storytelling converge

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Northern Kentucky's cultural diversity will be celebrated at the area's first Fall Folk Festival next month.

        Set for Sept. 22 in and around Covington's Devou Park bandshell, the free event will feature gospel, bluegrass and Caribbean music, Appalachian and American Indian storytelling, and dozens of arts and crafts booths. “There's a lot of talent here that needs a stage,” said Robin Klaene, director of community relations for the Kenton County Public Library system. “We hope that people bring away an awareness of the different cultures and heritages in the community.”

        Funded in part by a $2,500 grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, the festival is backed by nine community organizations. Its sponsors include the city of Covington and the Kenton County Public Library library system.

  • What: First Northern Kentucky Fall Folk Festival.
  • When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 22.
  • Where: In and around Covington's Devou Park Band Shell.
  • Admission: Free, but food and handmade crafts can be purchased at the festival.
  • To help: The Covington Neighborhood Collaborative is coordinating volunteer efforts. E-mail Nancy Slagle at nslagle@prodigy.net, or call Denny Bowman, Covington recreation director, at (859) 292-2151.
        The idea for the festival arose several months ago, when Denny Bowman, Covington recreation director, and Steve Rohs, the library system's adult services programmer, viewed performances by local artists at Thomas More College and were impressed by the variety of local talent.

        “I didn't know Steve, and he didn't know me, but we both had the same idea,” Mr. Bowman said. “Steve called me after he found out we were planning something similar, and we decided to work together.”

        Main stage performers include:

        • Khamisi Dance Theater, which teaches African culture through dance and music.

        • Taylor Made Bluegrass Band.

        • Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers featuring a cappella African-American gospel.

        • Tropicoso, a band known for its Caribbean sounds.

        • The Rabbit Hash String Band.

        A second stage will offer traditional Appalachian Jack tales, stories of the Cherokee heritage, and clogging and martial arts.

        Booths will show quilting, spinning wheel weaving, basket and cane weaving, water color painting, crocheting and pottery, mosaics, and dry herb and flower arrangements.

        Brent Bjorkman, folk life specialist with the Kentucky Arts Council, said the panel that award ed the grant was intrigued by the diversity of talent to be showcased from throughout Northern Kentucky.

        “We're all part of the same community, and by sharing a little of our food, entertainment and other traditions, I think we teach a little bit of understanding and tolerance for other groups,” he said.


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