Saturday, May 10, 2003

Event honors traditions


Appalachian Festival is a peek into the past

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Khylie Sebastian, 11 (left), and Scot Hazlett, 10, check out the teeth of a stuffed black bear at the festival.
(Gary Landers photo)
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The smell of wood smoke and the sound of bluegrass hung in the air Friday above Coney Island, where the 34th annual Appalachian Festival got under way with artisans slowly stoking cook fires and kids trading cash for fur pelts.

The event, a cross between a carnival and old-world craft fair, is expected to give an estimated 50,000 people a glimpse of the way life was lived more than 100 years ago in the mountains stretching from Alabama to New York.

"This is a lot of fun," Mary Munchel of Evanston said as she tended a fire where her homemade bread baked in a Dutch oven.

[IMAGE] Tressa Brown of Harrodsburg, Ky., cleans the hide of a white-tailed deer.
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"It takes about three hours to make. I like to demonstrate how it was done. Of course, the question I get asked most is from kids who want to know what age pioneer children were considered adults."

Nearby, two musicians play on a fiddle and plunk a wash-basin bass for a loud chorus of "Comin' Round the Mountain."

The tune underscores this year's theme, Goin' Across the Mountain, which was inspired by a song about a man crossing the mountains from North Carolina to fight for the Union during the Civil War.

"It's about good music, good people, good fun," said Terra Curtis, 28, of Westwood. "It is really nice out here."

IF YOU GO
What: 34th annual Appalachian Festival.
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Coney Island, Anderson Township.
Tickets: $7 ages 12-54; $3 senior citizens; $1 ages 4-11; free to 3 and under. Discounts available at Kroger stores.
Parking: $3.
Information: Web site.
Her favorite was the German-roasted nuts, which she munched before heading to her car after three hours of browsing craft stalls, listening to music and sampling food.

From the moment you enter, it's easy to forget where you are. The first thing you'll see is a storyteller's stage and just beyond that a small booth where Becky Howard and her two daughters work a loom.

"I recycle tube socks," Howard said. "They used to make rugs out of old clothes. Now we make them out of tube socks."

Steve Seamon of Sandyville, W.Va., sells his Appalachian Mountain sauces and jellies, and spends most of his day giving samples of hot butter and tastes of bloody Mary mix.

"It's a nice festival. It's nice to re-create the Appalachian arts and crafts and keep those things going," he said.

Of course, with temperatures in the 80s, some of the biggest crowds Friday formed behind the "Electro-Freeze." Ice-cream, it seems, is always a favorite no matter where you are from - or what century.

E-mail ranglen@enquirer.com




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