Always the fourth Saturday in October for the past 38 years is the Blue Ridge Institute's Blue Ridge Folklife Festival on the grounds of Ferrum College (near Rocky Mount VA). This year it is October 22, 2011!
Having been there on numerous occasions this is not something you want to miss!
A full day of Blue Ridge events and music – click here
A Major Venue on the Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail
—The New York Times
Looking for real roots? For 38 years the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival has brought together musicians and moonshiners, craftspeople and cooks, hot rodders and horse handlers, and much more in a celebration of the Blue Ridge lifestyle on the campus of Ferrum College. Our festival participants are the real thing, sharing folk traditions that are a part of their everyday lifestyle. In short, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is a full day of entertainment like none other.
(The festival takes place from10 a.m.to5 p.m., rain or shine. Admission in 2010 was $10 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens. Parking is free.)
From gospel to blues, with a world of string band and old-style bluegrass picking in between, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival highlights the authentic regional musicians who have played Southwest Virginia’s music nearly all of their lives. Three music stages run continuously throughout the day.
Music workshops are also a feature of the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. In 2010 the festival included two. The Virginia Dulcimer Workshop (which complements the BRI's current museum exhibition, "The Virginia Dulcimer: 200 Years of Bowing, Strumming, and Plucking") explored the dulcimer's history and musical magic with masters Phyllis Gaskins, Ken Bloom, Marsha Harris, Gin Burris, and Rick Ward. The Old-World-New-World Ballad Workshop brought Scotland's Norman Kennedy (who is also a United States National Heritage Award honoree) to the stage along with Appalachian ballad singers Gin Burris and Rick Ward.
The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival offers an unmatched market of mountain folk crafts. More than 50 artisans demonstrate old-time hand skills from tobacco twisting and basket making to blacksmithing and dough tray carving. The festival is known for presenting the hard-to-find artisans who make and sell crafts not found on the regular craft show circuit.
The sights and sounds of vintage power equipment bring smiles to the engine-loving festival-goers. Demonstrations include rock crushing, wheat threshing, and grain milling. Hit-and-miss engines and restored tractors abound. In the car show hot rodders, muscle car owners, and stock car racers fire up their big block motors, and the chrome shines on a host of restored classics. The 2010 Blue Ridge Folklife Festival attracted over 200 restored antique cars.
Working Animal Competitions
Farm animals have literally pulled their weight in Blue Ridge history. In the festival animal ring draft horses compete in pulling contests, jumping mules test their leaping skills, and herding dogs match wits with wandering sheep. Racoon hunters bring their coon dogs to race across the campus pond and compete in treeing competitions.
When hunger strikes, visitors to the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival can choose from two dozen old-time Blue Ridge foods prepared by local families and civic groups. This is the place for country foods such as ham biscuits, black pot chicken, funnel cakes, and fried apple pies—no hamburgers and hot dogs here.
Children can spend hours playing many of the games that entertained their parents, grandparents, and earlier generations—tug-of-war, sack races, wheel-barrow races, three-legged races, ring toss, needle-in-a-haystack, and many more. The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival gives youngsters a taste of what outside play is all about.
For more information past here.
Now for the little secret I am only sharing with you, Fairy Stone State Park is just a stone's throw from Ferrum VA. They have campsites and cabins available for you. Book a campsite or cabin and visit this great one-of-a-kind Appalachian festival October 22, 2011.
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES:Cabins, camping and group camping.For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you canClick here for park fees.
Drive Time :Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., six hours (from Washington, DC); Richmond, four hours; Tidewater/ Norfolk/Virginia Beach, five hours; Roanoke, one hour
Click herefor a Google map. Latitude, 36.784393. Longitude, -80.093717.