On Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the 14th Annual Freshwater Folk Festival at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery on East Main Street will be the place to be.
With no admission charge, the festival is a combination of music, art, dancing, and hands-on nature activities for children and adults on the beautiful hatchery grounds. There will be plenty of food to buy from commercial vendors, and crafts will be for sale too. As usual, Chapter 1072 of the Vietnam Veterans of America will supervise exhilarating outdoor games.
The musicians will come from Greenbrier, Raleigh, and Mercer counties. As the day unfolds, their musical genres will generally transition from country to blues to bluegrass. The amphitheater has benches, but you might bring a folding lawn chair to lounge in when not up grooving with the music.
A performance by the duo Country Blue will open the entertainment at the hatchery amphitheater at 10 a.m. with songs of traditional country music sung by Mel Waggy playing lead guitar along with George Piasecki on bass guitar. George is frequently heard as a member of the Lewisburg band, Sturm Some.
From 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Lady D of Beckley will be singing the blues as four primo instrumentalists play. The four-piece band consists of drummer Demetrius Cross, lead guitarist Dan Bailey, bass guitarist Phil Copney, and keyboard player Robert Gray. Lady D is actually Doris Anne Fields of Beckley who has been known as “West Virginia’s First Lady of Soul” for many years. Last year, Lady D competed in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. She and her band were in Fayetteville this August to perform at Jazz & Blues in the Ville.
Corey Lee McQuade and Paul Johnson of Johnson’s Crossroad will be next from 1 to 3 p.m. Paul Johnson is the lead singer and guitarist. Corey Lee McQuade’s performances include finger picking and flatpicking guitar, flatpicking dobro, clawhammer banjo, and vocals. His mastery of the dobro is particularly outstanding, and dobro music has gotten a big boost from the popularity of Jerry Douglas’s playing. The duo is also part of The Lone Wolf Review which gave an outstanding performance at the General Lewis Inn in July.
Hands-on activities, demonstrations, and displays relating to the appreciation and preservation of freshwater habitats and nature in general are essential components of the festival. That includes watershed conservation organization exhibits, Roy Moose’s WV Snakes, Trout Unlimited fly-tying and casting activities, displays and demonstrations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, science activity tables, T-shirt decorating, a FIRST LEGO League robotics demonstration by the Boa Constructors team of Monroe County, and other engaging activities.
Country Roads Smokehouse of Renick and the Emmanuel United Methodist Church will be among the food vendors on hand. A vendor that has been popular in the past will return, and it’s Hilly Billy Spin Art for making your own abstract paintings.
The hatchery tours will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Festival attendees will learn about what it took to recover from the flood of 2016 and what the hatchery’s aquatic wildlife programs are like. They include the production of rainbow trout eggs, restoration of the freshwater mussel population, and even a crayfish program.
The event is presented by the Friends of the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery and sponsored by businesses, several individuals and couples, the WV Division of Culture and History, and the Greenbrier County Commission. For more information see www.freshwaterfolkfestival.org or call 304-646-0602.