Entertainment

Festival Music and Oral Tradition

From dulcimers to washtub bases, you will always hear a variety of instruments raising their voices at the festival. Fiddles will certainly be heard at the festival, and they are one of the most commonly played instruments in the old-time style and kept alive by the West Virginia State Folk Festival. Next to the fiddle, banjos are also one of the most commonly played instruments in the old-time style at the West Virginia State Folk Festival. Old-time fiddle playing and banjo playing may be heard at the Square Dances, in the jams about town, in the concerts, and especially at the Fiddle Contests.

Fiddle & Banjo Contests are held in the GSC Fine Arts Center at the corner of Court and High Streets. Contests for contestants 50 and older are held on Friday at 2:00 p.m. Contests for contestants under 50 years old are held on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Contestants should show up back stage to register before the 2 p.m. contest. Each contestant will be expected to perform two pieces of old-time music. They will be allowed one accompanist, such as a guitar, etc. Contestants will announce the name of each song just prior to playing it.

Old time ballad singing, story telling, and shape note singing are also at the heart of the festival. For a great heritage experience, be certain to attend the evening concerts. Concerts are held Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the GSC Fine Arts Center at the corner of Court and High Streets.

There is also an unaccompanied gospel sing at 11:00 a.m. Saturday in the Methodist Church located on Main Street. Heavenly Highway Hymnals will be passed out. The 2007 gospel sing was led by Jane Law, Jesse Marks, Jack Lowther, and Bob Carpenter.

In addition, Bob Cain conducts a shape note singing workshop at the Church of Christ located on Powell Street. There are fiddle and banjo workshops and a special square dance workshop.
An oral traditions tent always showcases old time singing and music, poetry, and story telling. The Gilmer County Historical Society sponsors Living History Presentations. The 2007 presentations included William Hunt who took on the identity of Andrew Montour, Indian Scout. (1710-1774) The second presentation was Patty Cooper’s presentaion of Betsy Ross.

There is a special session entitled Papa Gainer’s Favorite Songs. Molly Gainer Walters and Mary Catherine Calame, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Dr. Patrick Gainer, our festival founder, sings his favorite folk songs and tells his favorite stories.

One of the best things about the Folk Festival is that music and oral traditions can happen anytime of the day or night, just about anywhere. Some of the best sessions tend to happen after the sun goes down and temperatures cool a little. Inside or out, day or night, the music is always great at the festival.

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Folk Festival Food

Food vendors at the West Virginia State Folk Festival are West Virginia non-profit organizations, mostly from Gilmer County. These organizations raise money annually to do good things in our community. The Folk Festival Committee is proud to support all of our local organizations by integrating their fund-raisers into our festival.

Here are a few examples of our food vendors.

The members of the Cedarville Chatty Ladies Club work on projects in our community. We purchase Veterans flags for cemeteries and maintain old graves. After there is a death in the community, the club sees that food is served to family and friends. We make sure that all local children
have a good Christmas. During this past Festival, we served buckwheat and regular pancakes, sausage links, sloppy joes, chips, and a variety of drinks.

The Cedar Creek Community Club has served beans and corn bread at the Glenville Town Hall. The proceeds from their sales are used for the upkeep of their World War II army surplus building. The first priority was to make the building safe with rewiring, new steps, and a handicapped ramp – then insulation and lots of paint. With the new water line in place, the club is now working on bathrooms and upgrading the kitchen. The building is now an active senior outreach center.

The Knights and Sisters of Pythias do considerable local charitable work. Proceeds help with
the annual contributions to Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and the Heart Fund. We also distribute Thanksgiving baskets in the community

The Gilmer County Farm Bureau has been a part of the Folk Festival for many years. This past year we served barbeque chicken dinners and roast beef sandwiches. Our location was directly behind the square dance platform. Our proceeds from these sales go to help defray expenses incurred at the annual Gilmer County Farm Show. Also, we buy food items for the Ronald McDonald House; aid in the operation of the Rosenbaum House at Ruby Memorial Hospital; sponsor a Kid’s Safety Day; and support local 4- H and FFA programs.

One vendor that is an old favorite at the Folk Festival and epitomizes communty support is the Lion’s Club . The Lions Club trailer has traditional American hot dogs for sale, each year, at the festival. Throughout the years they have supported the festival by organizing the parade, antique car show, and purchasing new equipment for the Festival. The Lions replaced the sound system on the streets of Glenville this year.

Other vendors include Todd Jones (Pork), Future Farmers of America (strawberry shortcake and ice cream), Ritchie County Lion’s Club (ice cream), and Glenville State College Athletics (Zules and spiral potatoes).

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