The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Ferrum College - Blue Ridge Folklife Festival

Issue: November, 1983

folklife festivalClovis Boyd, Floyd County basket maker, is one of the craftsmen appearing this year at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival on October 22, 1983 at Ferrum College.Guitars strumming, coon dogs baying and antique steam engines whining are familial sounds at the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at Ferrum College.

This year add the roar of chain saws when the Festival gets under way on Saturday, October 22, 1983. The competition for both chain and crosscut saws was a popular new event at last year's Festival. Prizes will be given in the modified pro and farmer categories.

Another new event, repeated from last year, will be the coon mule jumping contest at 12:00 noon. This unusual event features coon mules which jump over fences as high as five feet. The mules jump upon voice command from a standing position. Last year Pam Marshall's Suzie of Shenandoah County and Rodney Mowles' Pete of Fincastle jumped 3'9" to tie for first place.

In the coon dog events, the first, Virginia State Championship Open Water Race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on the 22nd. Hunters will test the skills of their well-trained coon dogs in a NKC Bench Show and treeing contest and the open water race. There will be a special youth bench show. The coon dog events are cosponsored by the Back Creek Coon Club of Roanoke. Roy Clark will be the bench show judge.

Music from Carroll and Grayson Counties will be featured on one of the music stages while religious music will be presented at another. A third stage will have music ranging from blues and ballads to storytelling.

Visitors to the one-day Festival also can see craft demonstrations, horse and mule pulling contests, including a special youth pull, steam and gas powered engines and farm machines, and a car culture exhibit with antique autos, customized street rods and race cars. There also will be an ample selection of pies, cookies, candies, funnel cakes and freshly prepared meals of fried chicken, stews, barbeque and beans.

The Festival runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. rain or shine. Admission is $2.00 per person and includes parking and a schedule of events. Admission for children ages 6-15 is $1.00 and under six no charge. Senior citizens with I.D. will be admitted for $1.00.