Ferrum, Va. (Oct. 11, 2016) – There is only one place to eat a homemade fried apple pie, watch coon dogs in a cross-pond race, and hear a national guitar flatpicker, all at the same time. On Saturday, October 22nd, the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival will bring together on the Ferrum College campus dozens of regional living-heritage treasures—country cooks, craftspeople, musicians, moonshine tale tellers, draft horse and dog handlers, car builders, tractor restorers, and much more. The result is a full day of unforgettable family-friendly entertainment.
The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is a treat for all the senses. Draft horses pound the ground in log skidding and weight pulling contests. Sheep dogs drive their flocks to whistled commands. Coon hounds bark and bay in treeing contests and water races. The BRFF also features the state championship coon mule jumping contest, harkening back to the days when hunters pursued raccoons on “muleback” at night.
Music pours continuously from three festival music stages offering 21 hours of fiddle-and-banjo tunes, bluegrass, gospel, country blues, ballads, and sentimental mountain songs. Three special workshops highlight Blue Ridge guitar styles, family band traditions, and the songs of Southwest Virginia’s legendary singing school master, L. V. Jones. For foot-tappers, old-time dance string bands and bluegrass pickers abound at the BRFF.
For those whose preferred “music” is the rumble of burning gasoline and the hiss of steam, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival attracts over 250 custom and restored vehicles and scores of tractors and hit-and-miss engines. With flywheels spinning, antique massive power machinery demonstrates rock crushing, threshing, and hay baling.
The BRFF showcases over 50 regional craftspeople demonstrating the heritage hand skills they learned in their families and communities. Shoppers find a host of traditional craft items not found at craft shows, including hand-split oak baskets, lye soap, and musical instruments. On the moonshine stage old moonshiners and revenuers swap tales of their exploits years ago, while children run and laugh in the folk games area. Then there’s the food—20 old-time country foods to please any taste.
“Our festival presents the living heritage of the Blue Ridge,” said BRFF director Roddy Moore. “These talented people are true regional treasures.”
Held rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the Ferrum College campus, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is a one-of-a-kind experience. Priced with the family in mind, admission is: Adults–$10; Youth (6-15)–$5; and Senior Citizens (60 and over)–$5. Advance tickets can be purchased by check or credit card at 540-365-4412. Parking is free.